WWP Roils WY Legislature, Remembering Molly Ivins, WWP Sells Valley Sun, Wildlife at Greenfire, Grazing Regulation Litigation Update,

Online Messenger #125

Wyoming Legislature Fights WWP On Grazing Lease Applications

Western Watersheds Project Roils The Wyoming Legislature With High Bids For Almost 20,000 acres of Wyoming State School Trust Land Grazing Leases.


In late November 2006 WWP applied for almost 20,000 acres of expiring Wyoming State School Trust Land grazing leases, including large acreage leased to Executive Vice-President of the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association, Jim Magagna. Also included in the applications was over 6,000 acres of Wyoming school trust lands in critical Bonneville Cutthroat Trout habitat in the BLM’s big Smiths Fork grazing allotment located near Cokeville, Wyoming. Other leases include ones in the south end of the Wind River Range near Farson, Wyoming and in the huge Green Mountain Common Allotment south of Jeffrey City, Wyoming. You can read today’s Casper Star-Tribune story by Brodie Farquhar about WWP’s effect on the Wyoming legislature.

Remembering Molly Ivins

The death of world famous columnist Molly Ivins this week is a blow for truth-telling in America. WWP was the fortunate recipient of Molly’s clear attention in 1998 when she wrote a telling column after a visit to Idaho to speak for the Idaho Chapter of the ACLU. In remembrance of Molly Ivins please take a look at that column that is now posted on the Western Watersheds Project web site.

WWP Sells Valley Sun L.L.C.

In early January Western Watersheds Project sold its 100% interest in its subsidiary Valley Sun L.L.C. to a conservation buyer. Readers will recall that Western Watersheds Project has the owner of the 432 acre Greenfire Preserve since 2001 through WWP’s subsidiary Valley Sun L.L.C.

The sale of the property improves WWP’s cash balance sheet dramatically, but also enables the continuation Western Watersheds Project as the Manager of the Greenfire Preserve through a multi-year agreement with the conservation buyer. The sale will also provide new capital to carry on the restoration of the sage-bunchgrass native vegetation on the Preserve and continue the policy of no livestock grazing on the Preserve or the 50,000 acres of federal grazing permits on both BLM and Forest Service administered public lands associated with the Greenfire Preserve.

Vacation rental of the Greenfire House will be put on hold for most of this year as remodeling work is carried out on the house and also on the caretaker’s house at the Preserve.

WWP looks forward to many more years of working to restore the Greenfire Preserve.

Welcome Wildlife Events At Greenfire

This winter the Greenfire Preserve has continued to provide wintering habitat for a variety of wildlife including as many as 1000 deer, up to 200 elk, numerous bald eagles, the Greenfire band of thirteen wild horses, and lately a number of visits by what is more than likely the Buffalo Ridge wolf pack.

The wolves have killed three mature elk on the Preserve in the last month, all at night with little of the elk remaining by daylight. The wolves of course are welcome at Greenfire and are showing quite a bit of taste discrimination since just upstream about 200 head of cattle are started to calve and yet the wolves have not bothered the cattle at all !

On January 26, 2007 a new foal was born to Greenfire’s wild horse band. She has nicely proportioned white socks and a white blaze on her face. She is red like the stallion and her dam. Interested readers can see several photos of the new foal on the WWP web site, and here is a photo (copyright Elissa Kline) of the latest resident of the Greenfire Preserve:

Western Watersheds Project Files Opening Brief In Support Of Summary Judgment in Litigation to Overturn the Bush Administration’s Proposed New BLM Grazing Regulations.

Readers will recall that WWP, through the stellar legal efforts of our attorney Laird Lucas and his staff at Advocates For The West in Boise (http://www.advocateswest.org), were successful is receiving injunctive relief late last summer from the Federal District Court for Idaho to block the implementation of the proposed new BLM grazing regulations affecting over 160,000,000 acres of western public lands. The regulations would effectively eliminate public involvement in the administration of livestock grazing on BLM managed public lands.

Interested readers can access the PDF copy of WWP’s Brief in support of summary judgment.

WWP Sponsors George Wuerthner's Fire Talk In Ketchum, Idaho

On February 22, 2007 Western Watersheds Project will sponsor biologist, photographer and author George Wuerthner at the NexStage Theatre 120 South Main Street in Ketchum, Idaho speaking about "FIRE ECOLOGY: A CENTURY OF FAILED FOREST POLICY".

George’s presentation will cover basic fire ecology in major ecosystems and how that influences fire behavior and consequences. He will cover the related issues such as factors contributing to wild lands and urban interface. He will also discuss issues that are a consequence of national fire policies such as forest thinning to reduce, salvage (post fire) logging and fire restoration efforts. There will be ample time for audience questions.

For more information you can read the WWP news release.