At the annual WWP Board Meeting Saturday May 11 at the Greenfire Preserve, many of the board, staff, and members of WWP were able to observe a male peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) devour a rock dove high on the cliffs just across the East Fork of the Salmon River from the main Greenfire house. The observation was made easier by an excellent spotting scope donated to the preserve by WWP Board member, Gene Bray.
Greenfire Manager and WWP's Central Idaho Director, Stew Churchwell, confirms that there is a pair of peregrine falcons, and that he has even seen them chase off a third peregrine. WWP hopes that nestlings are present and will seek to determine if nesting has occurred without disturbing the birds.
This eyrie is one of only about 20 known in the whole state of Idaho, and is a sign of the ongoing recovery of this once endangered species.
At the Greenfire Preserve last weekend, WWP's contract biologist, Miriam Austin, helped celebrate her recent wedding, by confirming that the Preserve is home to Spotted Bats (Euderma maculatum), Idaho's rarest bat!
Miriam was able to confirm the presence of these bats with a high frequency receiver which identifies bat echolocation sounds by reading the frequency of the bats' sounds. Virtually all bat species have a very small identifiable frequency for their echolocation and can be identified by that frequency even if no visual sighting is made.
In a remarkable victory for all wildlife, United States District Court Magistrate for the District of Columbia, John M. Facciola, issued a decision on May 13, 2002 which will help stop the murder of bison leaving Yellowstone National Park to graze on the Horse Butte peninsula on the Gallatin National Forest in southwest Montana.
Magistrate Facciola determined that the Gallatin National Forest had violated the law in issuing a ten year grazing permit for cattle on the Horse Butte allotment without carrying out an analysis of the environmental effects of that action as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Recision Act of 1995.
The decision, if affirmed by U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina, will probably result in no grazing of cattle on the allotment this year and perhaps into the future. The presence of cattle on this allotment has resulted in the killing of hundreds of the nation's last free roaming herd by the Montana Division of Livestock in a delusional effort to prevent brucellosis transmission from bison to livestock.
Judge Facciola noted that "closure of the allotment to livestock grazing would significantly reduce the need for hazing and killing of bison."
On April 30, 2002, WWP mailed a 60 day Notice of Intention to Sue under The Endangered Species Act to the Boise and Sawtooth National Forests in Idaho. These two National Forests have failed to complete legally required consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service over the effects of "ongoing activities" on lynx and lynx habitat.
Included among the unanalyzed ongoing activities which may affect lynx habitat negatively is livestock grazing.
WWP hopes the letter will rouse the sleeping National Forests to do their job of protecting threatened species of wildlife like lynx. If not, a lawsuit can be filed any time after the passage of 60 days from the letter's mailing.
On April 30, 2002 WWP filed a major lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah over the issuance of grazing permits on 78 allotments in Tooele, Rich and Box Elder Counties in northern Utah. The total land area included in these allotments exceeds 1,200,000 acres.
WWP believes the BLM has violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Utah Standards and Guidelines for Healthy Rangelands by continuing to permit significant damage to public resources by illegally permitted livestock grazing. In time this lawsuit may result in a request for injunctive relief that could stop livestock grazing on these public lands until the BLM complies with the law.
WWP invites all members and supporters to help with the restaining of the main house at WWP's Greenfire Preserve on Saturday May 25, 2002. The "painting party" will provide an opportunity for visitors to help restore the main house while enjoying friendly company as well as peregrine falcons soaring by!