Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

Public Trust Wars

This has been a busy week on the Public Trust front.

Montana St. Senator Mike Phillips from Bozeman filed a request with the Legislative Audit Committee, May 23, 2014 - Request for Comprehensive Performance Audit of Efforts to Prevent Transmission of Brucellosis from Wildlife to Cattle, 2000 thru Present.
Thank you Senator Mike Phillips.

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014 I attended the Board of Livestock meeting in Helena. Audio file, timestamps and draft Bison EA document. The Elk Brucellosis DSA Expansion was passed by the BoL. This DSA required a MEPA and still has not been done.

Thankfully, the BoL voted not to pass the draft as it was presented, for numerous reasons which BoL member John Scully presented, one of which being they needed a MEPA since the original Bison EA that was voted on by the public had been altered. DoL's Christian MacKay and Dr. Marty Zaluski added minimum population lethal objectives to the previous habitat Alternatives. If Yellowstone National Park slaughtered bison down to 3000 or lower the DoL would have allowed Alternative B, the one with the most habitat, to be accessed. Lethal removals final decision and authority would be by the DoL St. Vet. Wild Bison hunting in Montana is under the jurisdiction of the DoL St. Vet. This would not have benefited the bison, wildlife advocates or MT hunters.

Montana draws flak for bison intolerance by Todd Wilkinson
"Had Zaluski’s most aggressive option been implemented it would have meant that of the estimated 4,500 bison in the Yellowstone herd between 1,500 and 2,000 (including this year’s crop of hundreds of newborn calves) would have to be slaughtered before next winter, when bison again move out of Yellowstone’s deep snows."

This brings up an additional matter that I have wondered about since I began attending BoL meeting last summer. Why are the Board of Livestock meetings not streamed and audio and/or video recorded as other state meetings like the FWP, or EQC? Livestock is an important industry and I have found much to do with our wildlife is determined at these meetings. I believe they should be streamed and recorded for those that cannot make it to Helena or would like to listen at another time. Please contact Governor Bullock and the Board of Livestock, let them know that the public would benefit from the Board of Livestock meetings being streamed and recorded as other Mt. State meetings are.

You can contact Governor Steve Bullock:
Email: governor@mt.gov
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
FAX: 406-444-5529
Board of Livestock email  livboard@mt.gov

On the Federal Land Front
Please vote NO on the Helena Independent's Poll - 
Transferring federal lands to state ownership and management. Would this be a good thing for Montana?

Battle for our Public Trust Wildlife on Public Lands Against Special Interests -
As Western range suffers, should Utah cull wildlife? While livestock, wild horses, elk and other wildlife compete for forage on drought-stricken range, ranchers ask state to increase hunting permits. "Hallows was one of several ranchers who asked the Utah Wildlife Board earlier this month to encourage more hunting by increasing the number of permits issued.  'It is important we realize, us as livestock people, sportsmen, the Division [of Wildlife Resources] and everybody else, that we need to face the fact that there is a serious situation coming in our direction,' Hallows, second vice president of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association, told the board. "

Sage Grouse
Before anyone gets their feathers ruffled, let me state as a conservation hunter my first priority is the wildlife and their habitat. With that said, to seek statewide hunting closures without all the statistics, is like putting a bandaid on a cut artery. Hunting closures does not address the habitat decimation by ag/livestock, nor the effects of the oil and gas industry, which were cited as the two main factors in the US Fish & Wildlife Services report below.

This week, FWP Director Jeff Hagener released, FWP to Seek Sage Grouse Hunt Closure Due to Continued Population Decline
Previously he stated:
"Sage grouse With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered to decide whether to list the sage grouse as an endangered species by 2015, Western states have been working to establish their own management plans. 'If you think the wolf was a big issue for Montana, it’s a piker compared to sage grouse,' said Sen. Bradley Hamlett, D-Cascade, who sits on the council and the governor’s advisory committee. The governor has appointed a sage grouse advisory committee which has scheduled 10 meetings between now and October. The plan is to have a draft out in October with a final report recommended by late November. Gov. Steve Bullock would then have until early January to make any adjustments with a plan finalized by the end of January, said Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Council member Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, suggested that halting the state’s hunting season for sage grouse may satisfy concerns expressed by some of the state’s partners. Hagener noted that, scientifically, hunting hasn’t been seen as affecting the bird’s population, but the perception is that if oil and gas leasing may be disallowed in certain areas because the birds are few, then hunting shouldn’t be allowed."

Additionally the US Fish & Wildlife Services published
Hunting and Sage-Grouse: A Technical Review of Harvest Management On a Species of Concern in Wyoming Revised–September2010
"In their March 2010 listing decision, the USFWS concluded that the key threats to the continued survival of sage - grouse are 1) habitat loss, fragmentation, and modification and 2) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, particularly in relation to energy and other development . The USFWS also evaluated the 'utilization' (e.g. hunting) of sage - grouse and concluded that 'the greater sage - grouse is not threatened by overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes now or in the foreseeable future' "

Montana BHA Advocates for Science-Based Sage Grouse Management & Hunting


Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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