Saturday, July 15, 2006


federal inaction spurs state's action
Current Plans Are Failing
(P.S. road delays, new book, wolves)

.. Brucellosis is a menace to domestic livestock. It causes spontaneous abortion and increases the cost of beef. Cattle herds in Wyoming & Idaho have lost their Brucellosis-free status because of infected cattle herds. Montana will lose it's brucellosis-free status if only two herds show an infection.
.. Elk & bison carry the disease. Elk and bison carry the disease out of Yellowstone during their seasonal migrations. Wyoming & Montana are finally stepping forward with commitments to providing long-term solutions rather than hodge-podge responses.
.. The Helena Independent Record published an article detailing the Wyoming approach to controlling the elk herd near Jackson. The herd migrates out of Yellowstone in the winter and is artificially maintained as a tourist attraction through winter feeding. The close confinement encourages the transmission of disease. Culling of the herd to manageable numbers is finally being considered. The trial plan was expensive - the implementation of the full response will also cost quite a lot of money. However, this will result in healthier elk and less threat to cattle.
.. Montana's Gov. Brian Schweitzer has taken on this issue with the wandering, brucellosis-laden, bison. He proposes a solution through mapping and grazing restrictions. The Great Falls Tribune details the Montana response and proposed solution.
.. When the current bison plan was implemented there were about 2,300 bison in Yellowstone. The estimate of the herd size this year is about 5,000. Just like the elk in Jackson, crowding in the low valleys during winter encourages the spread of disease and over-grazing. No one wants to see the bison fed for the winter. Nor, do they want Yellowstone to lose it's ground cover and erode away down the rivers.
.. No single plan is going to satisfy all parties and all points of view. However, these steps by Wyoming & Montana are positive and forward looking. Unlike the "Management by Litigation" attitude used by Yellowstone National Park, these responses show promise for a long-term solution.
.. Some routine road maintenance will cause delays in Yellowstone next week. Read about it HERE.
.. "GAMBLE" a new book about Jay Cooke and the Northern Pacific Railway has been published. The story of robber barons, slaughtered bison, "owning Yellowstone," and the Custer connection make for interesting reading. The Ashland Daily Press has a review of the book.
.. The introduction of wolves over a decade ago is still making news. Read about one rancher's efforts to live with the wolves as a part of a complete ecosystem.
.. This rancher wants wolves, healthy elk, and cattle on his ranch. The innovative approach to grazing rotation and elk husbandry seems to be working - for now.