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Jan15

Cascadia Challenges BLM Clearcutting Just Northeast of Eugene

Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 15, 2015

Contact:
Nick Cady, Legal Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-434-1463
Doug Heiken, Conservation and Restoration Coordinator, Oregon Wild, 541-344-0675

Conservationists Challenge Largest Eugene BLM Clearcut in 20 Years

EUGENE, Ore.— Conservation organizations filed a lawsuit today challenging the largest clearcut approved on federal land in Lane County in twenty years. The Second Show timber sale proposes 259 acres of public lands clearcutting and is located on public Bureau of Land Management lands just outside of Springfield, Oregon near Shotgun Creek.  Clearcutting will have significant impacts to the watershed, which is already degraded, and will impact a popular recreation area.                                            

“It is a shame to see the BLM moving forward with this sale after the incredible amount of public opposition it received,” said Nick Cady, legal director with Cascadia Wildlands. “This sale could have real and devastating consequences on watershed health, salmon, and clean water for the surrounding communities.”

Despite the large scope of the project, the BLM neglected to analyze the effects of the project in conjunction with its ongoing commercial logging and road construction in the same area.  A basic tenant of environmental law is that federal agencies cannot evaluate projects in a vacuum, they must take into account the additive impact to the surrounding community based upon current ongoing or proposed projects.  In this case, the BLM has already moved forward on 1500 acres of commercial logging and over 25 miles of logging and access roads. The Second Show sale proposes clearcutting one of the few healthy, maturing stands remaining in the area.

“These forests are older than your grandpa and are developing fine habitat if we leave them alone.  Every indication is that we need to protect forests like this for fish, wildlife, water quality, and to protect our climate,” said Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild.  “We have worked with BLM for the last decade helping them meet timber targets by thinning dense young forests.  Now they are reverting to the destructive clearcutting practices of the past. It feels like a slap in the face.”

Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild officially raised these concerning issues to the Bureau of Land Management numerous times, but the Bureau neglected to respond due to purported mistakes by the Springfield postal service.  

For a copy of the complaint click here: Second Show Complaint

Jan06

Time to Get the Lead Out

By Bob Ferris
 
Over the past few years I have had a number of conversations with hunters, scientists, veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators about lead bullets, fragmentation and how fragments are entering the food chains of raptors and other lead_eagle_390858_7scavengers (see here).  These exchanges have been helpful in sorting out this complicated issue.  
 
"Ninety-four percent of samples of deer killed with lead-based bullets contained fragments, and 90% of 20 offal piles showed fragments: 5 with 0–9 fragments, 5 with 10–100, 5 with 100–199, and 5 showing >200 fragments. In contrast, we counted a total of only 6 fragments in 4 whole deer killed with copper expanding bullets." In Bullet Fragments in Deer Remains: Implications for Lead Exposure in Avian Scavengers 
 
Is there strong evidence this is happening?  Yes.  Can it be traced specifically to lead bullets? Yes.  Is this something that needs to be dealt with?  Yes. Are there viable alternatives? Yes. Is there room for respectful and fact-based debate relating to this issue and how specifically to deal with it?  Absolutely.  
 
Bullet Fragments
 
In terms of evidence one only has to go to Google Scholar (where the scientific papers live) and search under the terms “bullet+fragments+wildlife+mortality.” This action will get you 6500 results.  If you do the same switching morbidity for mortality, you get 884 results.  All of these articles are just dealing with the narrow issue of bullet fragments and not with the much, much broader issue of lead from other sources including lead shot which yields results in the million records range.  It is in fact hard to look at this issue without colliding with a mountain of studies.
 
“Our results confirm that ravens are ingesting lead during the hunting season and are likely exposed to lead from rifle-shot big-game offal piles.” In Blood Lead Levels of Common Ravens With Access to Big-Game Offal
 
The problem with lead and lead poisoning is much like climate change in that the science is a combination of compelling correlations, limited experimentation and a good deal of scientific triangulation.  That it is complicated leads some to doubt and deny the problem.
 
 
The whole situation and the actions of certain players reminds me a little of the story of Typhoid Mary.  Mary Mallon was an itinerant cook early in the last century who had asymptomatic typhoid—she carried the disease but did not show symptoms.  Her existence was discovered by a typhoid investigator who was hired by a wealthy family to find out why typhoid was popping up in New York where it was unlikely to occur–the houses of the rich.  The one and obvious commonality found by the investigator was this cook named Mary.  When confronted, Mary rejected the idea that she was the source and locked herself in a bathroom refusing to provide urine or stool samples 
 
Hunters and shooters intent on “going to the mattresses” over lead bullets should spend some time with Mary Mallon’s story because it is one of denial and obstinacy leading to a harsher outcome.  Folks were willing to work with Mary and there were viable and admittedly less desirable options, but those were still better than her ultimate fate of repeated incarceration.   
 
When you look at the evidence of bullet fragments poisoning wildlife they tend to fall into general categories and operate collectively much like evidence presented in a criminal trial or the epidemiology involved in Mary Mallon’s case.  First there are studies that show that animals near shooting ranges and other concentrations of spent bullets have higher levels of lead in their blood (1,2).  This essentially demonstrates that environmental presence leads to poisoning.
 
Then there are studies that show that bullet fragments are present in big game animals killed with lead bullets (1,2).  There are similar studies that show that species that eat lead bullet-killed big or small game animals—including humans—have higher levels of lead in their blood (1,2).  In addition, there are studies that show that the incidence of lead poisoning increases during deer hunting season (1,2,3).  
 
And to put a punctuation point on it there are even studies (1,2) that examine lead-tainted blood samples from wildlife and are able to determine the sources of that lead by looking at the lead isotopes contained in the blood and matching them with the differing isotope signatures found in objects like fishing weights, lead shot or lead bullet fragments.  If the concept of isotopes makes you queasy or uncomfortable, a good example of an isotope is the so-called Carbon-14 used in the carbon dating process.  Carbon 14 or radio-carbon has 6 protons, 6 electrons and 8 neutrons rather than the normal 6—these additional neutrons change the atomic number or mass of the atom but do not change its chemical properties.  
 
Now I can appreciate a healthy amount of apprehension from big game hunters and their desire to pull the political equivalent of a Mary Mallon because they see any efforts to control lead bullets in any manner as simply another step in the march to take their guns.   But I would urge them to take a deep breath, look at the substantial body of evidence and then become a productive part of the solution.   Because there is nothing in these studies that argues for continued tolerance for spraying the landscape with this toxic element and much that argues that its use should be discontinued or seriously curtailed.  
 
 
 
Dec19

Lethal Control of Predators: Of Science, Scapegoats and Icebergs

By Bob Ferris
 
I have been looking at the issue of lethal predator control for many, many years and the longer I look at it and 2019372475the more science I read and assimilate, the more convinced I become that lethal control of predators is more punitive than practical.  It is an activity and a supporting attitude that simply does not wash in the light of what we know and have tested. 
 
I know some will argue that lethal control is still needed for situations of chronic livestock depredation and where predators are dampening prey or endangered species recovery.  But even in these instances our opting for trigger, trap or poison is really more about our inability to admit that we are often raising the wrong animals in the wrong way in the wrong places and also our reluctance to recalibrate our expectations in regards to our ability to harvest, destroy and neglect our natural resources at unsustainable levels without consequence. 
 
Three wolf examples come to mind when I think of prime illustrations of the above: the Huckleberry pack control action, continual calls for wolf control in the Lolo National Forest to save elk and the killing of wolves in Alberta to save caribou. 
 
With the Huckleberry incident in eastern Washington—which we have written about repeatedly (1,2,3)—you  basically have too many of the wrong animal (i.e., sheep including rams) placed in poor habitat with little or no supervision near an area of known wolf activity.  Certainly livestock losses are regrettable and we have sympathy for the rancher who has to move his or her animals to alternative pasture, but the question hovers: Was this choice of stocking levels, location and inattention to non-lethal alternatives prudent given the situation?  One thing to think about in this context is the idea that anyone can leave roughly $180,000 worth of assets on any landscape without providing some measure of presence or protection from mishap.  In any event, this set of circumstances seems to not be a compelling argument for lethal control of a species recently released from federal protection and still under Washington State protection. 
 
The elk population decline in the Lolo has been offered up far too often as the poster child for the need for wolf control regardless of the fact that the decline started long before wolves came on the scene.  And biologist after biologist has pointed to this decline being associated with habitat succession (i.e., open areas transitioning to brush land and then to forests).    Certainly wolves are causing this decline to linger longer but at the end of the day this elk population is still habitat limited and will remain so as the availability of early seral habitat continues to decline.  Elk are creatures of disturbance and when the logging is done or fires put out the ticking clock of transition from good elk habitat to bad starts.  The State of Idaho is pursuing lethal control of wolves in this area but they are unlikely to get any awards for sound science or innovative management out of this endeavor (see here).  
 
Woodland caribou in Alberta are in terrible shape and getting worse (1,2,3).  The main reason for this decline is the explosion of tar sand development as well as tradition gas and oil development in the province.  Yet when searching for solutions, the province did not look to restrict fossil fuel operations, set up refugia or restore habitat they felt the “logical” approach was to cull wolves.  I suppose on some level this illogical of wolf culling is easily dwarfed when looking at the totality of this tar sands lunacy where wilderness is being sacrificed so we can accelerate climate change, ocean acidification and a host of other ills that compromise our ecological support systems.  
 
Alberta’s wolf cull strategy is not only wrong-headed but it may turn out to be an ironic choice as wolf biologist Robert Hayes reported in his excellent book Wolves of the Yukon that smaller packs had to kill more prey per capita because they lack the numbers to effectively protect their kills from crows, ravens and other scavengers.  Hayes’ observations are illustrative of the problem faced by lethal control proponents who only look at the obvious iceberg tip of predator-prey relationships and do not see the more important aspects below the surface that are not seen by the casual observer.  
 
The latest nail in the coffin of the lethal control illogic is Rob Wielgus’ recent findings that culling wolves likely does more harm than good.  This is solid and well-reviewed work, but it is by no means unique in sending the message that lethal control is generally a flawed approach.   In 2012, for instance, the American Society of Mammalogists issued a strong letter to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—where USDA Wildlife Services is housed or hidden—heavily criticizing the program’s overdependence on and use of lethal control.  And investigative journalist Tom Knudson of the Sacramento Bee wrote an excellent set of articles examining problems with USDA Wildlife Services as well as lethal control in 2012 (1,2,3,).
 
At this point there are likely some who are asking: If science has shown that lethal control of predators—particularly via random culling programs—is generally ineffective or often deleterious then why does it continue? The answer to this question is that livestock producers, energy developers, and timber interests want access to natural resources on public lands and the presence of predators—particularly legally protected predators—often inhibits their ability to fully exploit and derive maximum benefit from these public lands.  Yes there are groups that also support predator control, but if you scratch the surface of most of the groups with anti-wolf or anti-predator leanings you do not have to look too hard to also find connections between those groups and these industries either through funding, governance or association (see here).  
 
Moreover, for wildlife managers, scientists and politicians, there is real peril in questioning the lethal control model.  Both Rod Sando (1) in Idaho and Ken Mayer in Nevada (1,2) lost their jobs as directors of their state wildlife agencies, in part, because they took a principled and scientifically defensible position on the lethal control of predators.  Likewise Dr. Wielgus’ work—before it was even completed—was attacked and his objectivity questioned by the livestock producers’ front group the Science First Coalition (which has since taken down their website).  And Congressman Peter DeFazio who has long championed reform of Wildlife Services and wolf recovery as well as opposing predator derbies has taken considerable lumps from the above crowd.  Being principled is a perilous course and frequently comes at a price.  
SCCA Talking Science
I met with the leadership of Wildlife Services in DC roughly 20 years ago armed with a stack of literature that questioned the efficacy of lethal control actions particularly as they applied to coyotes and we also talked some about wolves.  The agency and the approach has changed some since then because of public pressure, legal actions and congressional attention, but only cosmetically such as not stenciling an airplane with a wolf silhouette each time you kill one.  Lethal control continues not because there is a lack of science or inadequate evidence of problems but because the myths and fear continue to be promulgated by the same interests and industries (see above).  
 
As you enter the holiday season and think about this coming year and those in the future, please take some time to think about how you can help all of us turn the tide on this monumental effort to bring facts and science to wildlife management and public perceptions—particularly in rural areas.  We need to break the strangle-hold and undue influence these industries have on our wildlife agencies, public lands policy and the minds of our children.   Our future and the future of what we hold dear depends on it, so please support groups that work in this area, vote for candidates who embrace science, and educate where you can with fact-based and scientifically defensible arguments.  
 
 
Dec16

America’s Choices: Hysteria and Hyperbole or Hyper-volumes and Curiosity

By Bob Ferris
 
“…the more ignorant we become the less value we set on science, & the less inclination we shall have to seek it.” Thomas Jefferson May, 1795
2008937557
 
I remember a time in the late 1990s when I was interviewed by a writer for the New York Times. We had a long conversation about lynx restoration in Colorado and whether or not it would work or was worthwhile. At the end of the conversation he asked me where I got my PhD. I told him that I did not finish my PhD program and his response was that the New York Times only quoted PhD-level scientists on technical matters.
 
We continued to talk some about my education, experience and standing in the conservation community. We discussed some of my research efforts as well as restoration projects that I had worked on for wolves, swift foxes, prairie dogs and trumpeter swans. In the end, he included me in the article, but I had to work for it and prove that I belonged.
 
Flash forward to present times and we see ABC and NBC putting forth pieces on the manufactured wolf controversy in eastern Washington and the predator control paradox offered up by Dr. Rob Wielgus’ work. Both these pieces prominently feature quotes by folks who lack relevant education, experience and standing to qualify as “expert” voices in complicated, science-based debates. Unfortunately, these two media networks are certainly not alone in their current use of the non-experts—often with huge and glaring conflicts—to counter the statements of scientists working in a broad range of areas from wolf recovery and climate change to vaccine safety and water pollution.
 
Certainly comments coming out of these non-experts are entertaining and provide a countering view on these issues, but at some point we have to ask ourselves whether news is really supposed to be entertaining or is it meant to inform a citizenry trying to make tough decisions and support public policies that lead us forward towards a better future or past towards failed and destructive modes of existence.
 
Wolves are a pretty good piece of societal litmus paper in this regard. Understanding the function and value of wolves takes a certain level of intellectual curiosity. I remember being both blown away and intrigued early on in my study of ecology by the concept of niches—the often subtle ecological positioning and separation of roles of organisms—being defined as hyper-volumes. These hyper-volumes are basically abstract representations of all the various biotic and abiotic factors that influence a particular species.
 
Why “hyper-volumes?” When we talk about dimensions we tend to talk about length (x), width (y) and depth (z) as defining volume. Hyper-volumes are n-dimensional so instead of just having three axes (plural of axis) they could have a nearly infinite number of axes or dimensions. That means that required space, time, moisture, feed, intra and interspecies competition, vegetative cover, weather, and thousands of other factors that define their place in the grand ecological scheme could all be used as axes or dimensions to describe their niche. And a good number of these dimensions interact so if one or a group of elements changes then so do others. In short it is both complicated and dynamic at the same time.
 
The “n” in this is unknown as we do not know with certitude all that influences a particular critter or plant. We do know that the number is large so if you are only looking at those dimensions associated with predator-prey relationships or even just the disease transmission elements, you are clearly missing most of the picture and are basing decisions on a myopic perspective. Where the litmus test comes in here is how you feel about the above information. If it stimulates and excites you and serves as a catalyst for thinking—even if you do not completely understand it—then that is great and we have hope for the future and for a return to American exceptionalism.
 
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” Benjamin Franklin
 
If, however, you see it as more scientific mishmash because you already know what you know and you see no problem with non-experts sharing “opinions” on highly technical matters in a “he said-she said” format with PhD level scientists (or others with grounding and experience), then you are essentially the anchor dragging us down the slippery slope of mediocrity. If you think that I overstate this then please give me examples of economic or intellectual advances that were led by people with stifled curiosity and closed minds. These traits lead to acrimonious and anonymous electronic comments but not to progress, innovation and prosperity.
 
The anti-wolf rhetoric, rumor spreading, and fear-driven messaging coming out of eastern Washington and Idaho is distressing not only in regards to the wolf but because it also represents the worst America has to offer as well as our bleak and getting bleaker prospects. That we allow it to happen and that it is enabled by any institution in this country is the wart on the nose that tells of deeper, more profound health problems. I am encouraged that there are those who speak up in the face of this juggernaut of witlessness (1,2,3), but others need to speak up on this matter as well as on other issues like climate change.
 
Our current conservation peril—represented by these anti-scientific postures and our in-coming Congress—like the above referenced wart is only a symptom of larger problems. I cannot help but think that if we make a concerted effort in our own actions and rhetoric to call out those who ignore or degrade science and intellectual curiosity that we might be taking steps to heal and enrich our country as well. These are some things to think about during this holiday season and as we ready ourselves for the legislative challenges to come—we do have a choice and we should exercise it.
 
 
Dec11

State Starts Process of Hunting up Buyer for Elliott State Forest

 

Associated Press, by Jeff Barnard

 

December 9, 2014
 
The state of Oregon is looking for an unusual buyer for Elliott State Forest — someone willing to pay a good price, respect the needs of threatened fish and wildlife, and leave areas open to hikers and hunters.Elliott rainforest (photo by Cascadia Wildlands)
 
At a meeting Tuesday, the State Land Board directed its staff to develop a proposal to elicit offers from public or public-­private entities to buy the 90,000-acre forest in the Coast Range.
 
Parties could include the federal government, a tribe, state agency or local government.
 
Board spokeswoman Julie Curtis said a purchase proposal could be ready in time for the board’s June meeting.
 
The board — comprised of the governor, secretary of state and state treasurer — is looking for a way to maximize forest revenue to benefit schools. But court rulings upholding protections for threatened birds and salmon have stymied timber sales.
 
Revenue from Elliott State Forest once contributed up to $8 million a year for schools but has turned into a $3 million expense.
 
Bob Ragon of Douglas Timber Operators said he was disappointed the board did not endorse a proposal from his organization that would keep the forest as a Common School Fund asset while seeking someone to manage it to produce timber for sale and meet environmental laws.
 
“It could take them a long time to get that sorted out,” he said about the board decision to sell the forest. “I don’t know how much time they really have.”
 
Josh Laughlin of the conservation group Cascadia Wildlands said the board’s choice fit within his group’s vision for the forest, decoupling it from the Common School Fund while maintaining conservation value.
 
He said a potential buyer could be a public land trust — a nonprofit organization that raises money to buy property then turns it over to a public entity.
 
“I think they have come to the realization that clear-cutting older forest to fund schoolchildren doesn’t work any longer,” Laughlin said. “They need to get creative to meet their fiduciary mandate and work within the public interest.”
 
Dec08

Press Release: State of Oregon Shelves Elliott State Forest Privatization Idea

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2014
 
Contact:
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Ed Putnam, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Oregon Chapter, 541-678-3548
Christy Splitt, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, 971-404-7279
Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, 503-380-9728
Cameron La Follette, Oregon Coast Alliance, 503-391-0210
Tom Wolf, Oregon Council Trout Unlimited, 503-883-1102
 
State of Oregon Shelves Elliott State Forest Privatization Idea
97% of Public Comment Encourages a Conservation Solution for the Iconic Forest
    
The State of Oregon has decided against privatizing the Elliott State Forest after receiving overwhelming public comment encouraging a conservation solution for the 93,000-acre state forest located northeast of Coos Bay. 1,147 out of 1,185 comments received during the public process, or 97%, encouraged the Department of State Lands and the Oregon State Land Board to protect the iconic forests for its outstanding water quality, salmon and wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing opportunities and its remarkable ability to store carbon to mitigate climate change.
 
Instead of privatizing the forest, the Land Board, made up of Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary Kate Brown, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Elliott rainforest (photo by Cascadia Wildlands)will continue to explore various management alternatives for the Elliott that meet public expectations as well as its Common School Fund and Endangered Species Act mandates. The State Land Board will meet Tuesday, December 9 from 9 am-12 pm at 775 Summer St. NE in Salem to further discuss future management scenarios and has extended the meeting to handle what is expected to be significant public comment.
 
“The state of Oregon should be given kudos for not privatizing the Elliott as elk hunters would have ultimately encountered “no trespassing” signs instead of open access into this outstanding backcountry,” said Ed Putnam with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “It is important that as the public process moves forward a balanced plan gets enacted that enhances the forest habitat, and keeps it in public hands.”
 
Earlier this year, the State Land Board voted to dispose of nearly 1,500 acres of the Elliott State Forest and quickly auctioned the acreage off to the timber industry. One timber company has already put up “no trespassing” signs and has vowed to clearcut the forest. The lands were disposed of after conservationists successfully challenged a number of illegal old-growth clearcutting projects on the forest that would have significantly impacted the marbled murrelet, an imperiled sea bird that nests in coastal old-growth forests.
 
“The table is set to find a lasting solution for the Elliott State Forests that protects its outstanding water quality, salmon and wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities,” said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands. “We will continue to work diligently with stakeholders until a plan is in place that safeguards this outstanding rainforest while at the same time meets its Common School Fund obligation.”
 
The Elliott State Forest provides critical habitat for a host of fish and wildlife species teetering on the brink of extinction, including Oregon Coast coho salmon. Recent data provided by state biologists demonstrate that streams originating on the Elliott State Forest play a significant role in coho salmon recovery on the Oregon Coast.
 
“The cool, clear streams that course through the Elliott provide essential habitat for coho salmon productivity and must be protected to ensure this iconic fish’s recovery,” said Tom Wolf, Executive Director of the Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited. “A new plan for the Elliott rainforest must entail adequate steam side buffers to protect this outstanding clean water value.”
    
In addition to the public comments submitted into the record, the State Land Board in October held a “listening session” in Coos Bay to hear from community members about the Elliott State Forest. More than 3:1 spoke in favor of a conservation solution for the forest.
    
“Oregonians should not have to choose between protecting salmon, clean water, and old-growth on the one hand, and logging to fund education on the other,” said Rhett Lawrence, Conservation Director with the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Continuing to tie education funding to timber receipts is a failed policy of the past and we need new solutions.”
    
90% of the Elliott State Forest is Common School Fund land, which has a duty to generate revenue to the $1.2 billion fund. Those encouraging the decoupling of old-growth clearcutting from school funding include hunters, anglers, scientists, teachers, recreation enthusiasts and others who have long advocated that leaders in Salem enact a more modernized approach to school funding.
 
(Photo of Elliott rainforest by Cascadia Wildlands.)
 
                                                                         ####
 
Dec04

Jamie and the Amazing Wolf Hatred Echo Chamber

By Bob Ferris
WARAW Billboard
In my twenty-five years working on wildlife issues I have rarely seen anything as reprehensible as the above billboard slated to be displayed in Spokane, Washington.  Those involved should be ashamed not only for the content and imagery but also for being part of so transparent a propaganda device.  
 
What we see above is part of what is known as an “echo chamber.”  How does it work?  Someone or a small group wants a certain message to reach the public so they put it out and then bounce it off other like-minded groups until it is amplified and appears larger and more meaningful than it really is.  Volume in this instance is meant to correlate with truth.  Often times with each “bounce” the message gets shriller too as we see above.  And when there are not enough groups to bounce off to have the appearance of diversity you manufacture those groups—Washington Residents Against Wolves (WARAW) and the Science First Coalition are good examples of this deceptive strategy.
Eastern Washington Anti-Wolf Echo Chamber
The echo chamber associated with the billboard consists of the above groups and was likely orchestrated by Jamie Henneman who is the communications guru or spokesperson for many of the groups spouting similar messages—including WARAW.  When you look at the members and leaders we start to see many familiar names including the Dashiell brothers—Dave of Huckleberry pack fame and Don who signed the anti-wolf resolution coming out of Stevens County.  These gentlemen are also active in Cattle Producers of Washington and the Science First Coalition respectively.  And so the net gets more entwined and the actual constituency smaller as original voices are separated from the resulting echoes. 
Education and Certificates
When you look at Ms. Henneman’s profile on LinkedIn, the story on this becomes clearer.  Although she has worked for small market newspapers, her proof-reading skills (see above) and ethical behavior are not those of a trained journalist.  What we do see here and what is consistent with this “echo chamber” approach is her coursework at the on-line institution American Military University which includes a course entitled Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation (INTL653).  And if you visit the current syllabus for that course you will see that this course covers important topics such as “dirty tricks.”  Add that to her emphasis on social media and the sudden explosion of websites and Facebook pages—all with anti-wolf messaging—in this sector makes sense.
 
"Hedquist noted that the parasitic disease that affects an estimated 2–3 million people and results in an annual monetary loss of over $750,000,000 worldwide. Incidents of human infection increase as exposure to the canine feces that carry the parasite also increases. The Centers for Disease Control and every state where wolves are present, except Washington, warns the public of the dangers via public information campaigns." WARAW Press Release
 
The intemperate and misleading comments by Luke Hedquist in the press release associated the launch of the above billboard are somewhat surprising as he—in the absence of anything resembling any apparent grounding in Science First Coalition New Membersscience beyond his high school  coursework—is suddenly expounding authoritatively on a very complicated issue of parasite epidemiology.  It is not surprising that he got it wrong (see Little Worms, Big Lies) Moreover, his use of global figures is purposely done to induce panic when the reality is that hydatid disease in humans is extremely rare in North America and the incidence in the lower 48 states is so rare that individual cases generally rate a journal article and typically are about people coming to the US with the disease.  But this constant overstatement of risk is what we have come to expect from this fear machine.
 
All in all, the participants in this broader effort to promulgate biological bigotry in eastern Washington from the various cattlemen’s associations and these shadow “groups” should take some time to see where their moral compasses are pointed, because there is nothing about this complicated web they have constructed that bespeaks of integrity, principle or much in terms of stand-up character.  The choice is fairly simple:  Do you want to be known for being honest brokers or for your dirty tricks?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dec02

Stevens County Pampers Wearers

By Bob Ferris
 
When I was in college I spent a lot of time taking field courses and hanging out in wild places.  These were Bunny Clubwonderful experiences which I still pursue but the quality of these ventures were also greatly influenced by the nature of my companions.  Most were spectacular, but some were kind of squeaky and whiny.  In my circle of friends we eventually started to call these people “pampers wearers” because they complained loudly about things of little consequence so frequently they reminded us of infants encased in a poop-filled pair of the iconic disposable diaper.  
 
This appellation grew in stature so much that I eventual took a side from a Pampers box and framed it in barn wood so it could be awarded to those within our group of biology or natural history students who started to drift towards this behavior pattern.  I do not know where this award ended up 30 years ago, but I wish that I did because I would quickly wrap it up and send it Priority Mail to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association in honor of their whiny, fanciful post on the Smackout wolf pack yesterday.   
WA pack_map_mar2012
The SCCA richly deserves this Pampers Wearer award because they are so like those students bathed in the richness of nature who chose to focus rather on the dirt on their boots or the lone mosquito cruising round their heads.  Cattlemen have been so immersed in a sea of privilege that includes heavily subsidized public lands grazing, farm bill give-aways and tax rates that never cover the services they receive for so long that they think these are "rights."  They also—in their dirty diaper state—are completely blind to the impacts of their actions on wildlife, waterways and the public lands’ experiences of others who also own those lands and often pay more for their use.  
 
Stevens County
 
And lastly they deserve this award because of their infantile presentation of arguments and “facts.”  They, like very young children, confuse shrillness with rightness and in their blind entitlement grant themselves great license in terms of exaggeration and hyperbole.  
 
My hope is that the SCCA takes some time to reflect and adjust their approach more toward the adult side of the equation, but my sense is that will not happen.  Self-reflection and awareness do not appear to be in evidence, but I am willing to be surprised. 
 
 
Nov26

Our Wonderland Auction Will Help Wildlife and Wild Life

By Bob Ferris
 
rick lamplugh
 
Auction time is always exciting at Cascadia Wildlands as the phones are ringing off the wall with folks wanting to donate items.  That is all great.  As time and tide progress, the office—what we jokingly refer to as the global headquarters of Cascadia Wildlands—starts to look a little like a poorly organized warehouse. 
 
I walk around this occasionally when I am trying to get circulation going in my backside.  On some level these office jaunts resemble those nearly clandestine, flannel-pajama clad excursions I used to have when I was very small to check to see what new item might have been deposited beneath a certain magical tree.  Oh, the thoughts and dreams I had during those forays.
 
opineOn one of my morning rambles this week I spied a pile from Patagonia and a stack from Tactics.  There was a bust of Johnny Walker (you’ll have to come to auction to find out about that one) and mushrooms along with some best-selling books from friends like Rick Lamplugh, Cristina Eisenberg and Todd Wilkinson
 
But the one thing that struck me was that breweries, distilleries and vintners love us dearly.  I say this because we have enough quality adult beverages donated for our auction to keep all of us “wild” for quite some time.  We have, for instance, a “beer for a year” package from Widmer Brothers.  We have a winery tour from Willamette Valley Vineyards as well as a tasting tour at House Spirits
 
widmer uphevalWe have cases of beer from Deschutes Brewery and Base Camp in addition to wine from Lane Benton, Opine Cellars (who are also providing wine for the dinner) and boxes and bags of what can only be classified as oenophile assortments.  And auction goers (of an age) will be treated to beer from our long-time supporters and Pints Gone Wild host—Ninkasi.    
 
So check out our auction page, the live auction page and remember that advance purchase of ticket saves you $10 per ticket so buy now.
 
 
Nov26

Speak Up for the Elliott on Dec. 9: Oregon State Land Board Meeting Details

The Oregon State Land Board will meet on December 9th to discuss future options for the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest.  That really means that they are meeting to discuss the fate of the marbled murrelt, spotted owl and one of Kelsey:Sheena adjustedthe largest runs of Coho salmon on the Oregon coast.  It also means that they will be discussing whether or not to continue providing some funding for schools via unsustainable forestry practices or, even worse, selling the forest to private timber companies that want to clearcut these important habitats.  Please come testify on December 9th (three minuntes max) and tell the State Land Board that you favor a conservation solution which decouples school funding from clearcutting mature forests and protects these irreplacable habitats.  Please speak up for the Elliott!
 
What: State Land Board Meeting
When: December 9, 2014 at 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: 775 Summer Street Northeast, Salem, OR 97301, USA
 
Carpools will be leaving from Roseburg, Eugene and Portland. Contact Francis Eatherington for Roseburg, Josh Laughlin for Eugene, and Micah Meskel for Portland carpool information and to RSVP.
 
Preparing your testimony: Please consider preparing three-minute (maximum) testimony on behalf of yourself or the organization you represent. You should also plan to leave a hard copy of your testimony with Land Board staff after you testify.
 
Possible talking points include:
       Decouple old-growth clearcutting from school funding on the Elliott
       Protect the Elliott's remianing native forests, wild salmon and imperiled wildlife
       Safeguard the Elliott for its hunitng, fishing and recreational opportunities and potential
       Promote timber jobs on the forest by restoratively thinning the dense second-growth tree farms and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat
       Oppose the privatization of the Elliott State Forest
 
It is encouraged that you personalize your testimony and remind the State Land Board why the Elliott is so important to you or your organization. Thanks for speaking up for this outstanding public resource!
 
(School kids stand in the threatened Elliott State Forest. Photo by Josh Laughlin)

 

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