Monday, December 24, 2007

Hunters cited for CWD infringements in Oregon

According to the Eastern Oregonian: Recently, Oregon State Police cited six Oregon hunters who brought harvested deer and elk into the state from Montana, a state that has experienced a documented case of CWD. Citations were also issued to hunters who harvested and brought back game from the states of Colorado and New Mexico.

Here is a definition of CWD from the ODFW site: A transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that has been documented in deer, elk or moose in the following states: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Illinois, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. It has not been detected in deer or elk in Oregon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Looters boost fossils from John Day Monument

Seattle-PI says looters are stealing fossils from the John Day Fossil Beds. From the article:

In the fossil beds, there are places where scientists have taken pictures of fossils on the ground and come back later to find them gone, said Ted Fremd, chief paleontologist at the monument. And there are other places where people have dug pits or tried to remove bones but did a messy job of it, he said.

John Day Fossil Beds Clarno Unit

We saw traces of similar activity at the Clarno unit on our Central Oregon Roadtrip earlier this fall.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Call for hunters to drop the NRA

If you're a hunter and you support the NRA, it might pay to read this great article from the Washington Post. From the article:

If the threat to honest citizens' right to own firearms ever dipped below the radar, so too would the association's political might. That's why the NRA leadership will never tolerate the give-and-take that makes up real problem-solving. It would be bad for business.

Former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman takes on his old organization for corruption and overplaying the specter of gun-control to rile up its base and bilk $35 from hardworking hunters trying to protect their sport. But it's pretty clear after the Jim Zumbo fiasco that the black-rifle base that the NRA caters to doesn't have anything to do with hunting and actually looks at us as "Fudds". So maybe its time to cancel those memberships.

Bush turns to science on spotted owl?

The Bush Administration has agreed to have a respected scientific panel review the Spotted Owl plan according to The Oregonian.

Pressure mounted, as scientists and Senator Wyden called bullshit on the adminstration's draft plan for the spotted owl which would have dramatically boost logging in old-growth forests and undercut endangered species protection.

Much of the scrutiny focuses on Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks that tampered with scientific findings in the Northwest.

For a solid look at the Bush Adminstration's War on Science, check out this article from Wired.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Whale Watch Week starts Dec 26th

Oregon Parks & Recreation are launching "Winter Whale Watch Week" on Dec 26th. According to the Web site: "Gray whales migrate past the Oregon coast during two special times of the year. The southbound migration peaks just around the winter holiday season and the northbound migration has one of its two peaks near the end of March."

An AP report says whale sightings have been running at record levels in 2007.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oregon tells PacifiCorp to stuff its coal fired power plants

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, PacifiCorp has abandoned plans to build three new coal-fired power plants. The utility operates in six states, with most of its power feeding Utah and Oregon.

Energy activists in Oregon have put the plan to build new facilities under a microscope. And Oregon State Representatives like Ben Canon are trying to shut down the practice of buying dirty energy from the Rocky Mountain states.

PacifiCorp whined that it's going to cost more to use natural gas (a cleaner option). But I think Oregonians are willing to pay a little more to preserve what's left of their wild ecosystems and to try to stimey global warming.

Correction: PacifiCorp operates a hydropower dam on the Klamath and this post blamed PacifiCorp's dams for the Klamath's massive 2002 adult salmon kill -- which isn't the case. Nonetheless, they're not exactly blameless. Here is a note from Klamath Wildlife Advocate Jim McCarthy:

Oregon Wild would be the last to praise PacifiCorp for their activities in the Klamath, and their dams have certainly contributed to the steep decline in salmon runs in that river and create huge water quality problems. However, there is no evidence that their dams contributed to the 2002 kill. You'll find the definitive CDFG report on the kill here.

The blame with that kill lies primarily with low flows in the Klamath River as a result of a bad federal water management plan put in place due to political meddling by Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House appointees. Cheney and his cronies suppressed the findings of their own biologists who said that the plan would harm salmon. You'll find that story here.

It is true that many consider PacifiCorp's dams responsible in large part for the juvenile salmon kills due to unnaturally large salmon parasite hot spots that break out on the Klamath in spring. Unnaturally low flows due to irrigation diversions also play a big role in these springtime parasite explosions. These juvenile kills don't get the press coverage like the adult kills do, but many observers believe these kills led to the closure of much or all of the commercial chinook salmon seasons in Oregon in 2005 and 2006.

Shrimpin' ain't easy, but it is sustainable in Oregon

According to the Statesman Journal:

Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has achieved a new distinction that might appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. The industry has received the world's first sustainable shrimp certification under the Marine Stewardship Council certification program.

Apologies to Ice-T for the headline. And oddly enough, I'm not the first one to say "Shrimpin ain't easy"...

Redden slams salmon plan

U.S. District Judge James A. Redden slammed the latest Columbia River salmon recovery plan. According to this article in The Oregonian, this plan is actually worse for salmon than the last one. I can't imagine what the people putting this plan together are thinking -- are they trying to let the salmon go extinct so they don't have to worry about it anymore?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wolves traveling together in Eastern Oregon

According to the Baker City Herald, wolves in Eastern Oregon are traveling together. There is no confirmation that these wolves are a breeding pair, but ODFW has reviewed 101 reports from people who said they saw a wolf or wolves, or tracks, or heard wolves howl -- more than double the 46 reports catalogued in 2006. Most of the sightings are near the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

Wolves are native to Oregon, and according to ODFW: The last wolf bounty was paid in 1946 and wolves were considered extirpated in Oregon. Between 1974-1980, there were four recorded sightings of wolves in Oregon nevertheless.

Save Our Wild Salmon Photos

Wild & Smart, originally uploaded by Save Our Wild Salmon.

The peeps at Save Our Wild Salmon now have a Flickr page.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unexpected ally: Shamu pitches in to save our wild salmon

Here at Oregon Outdoor Journal we've been pushing for the removal of the four lower Snake River Dams for a while, mainly because we're salmon crazy. But there is a constituency out there that is even more salmon-crazy than we are -- and potentially more popular than us: Orcas! A post in the Seattle P-I blog addresses the problems Puget Sound orcas are facing:

The connection has been made and the science is clear: If we hope to recover the iconic orcas of Puget Sound, we need to find them more salmon to eat, and fast.

RIP: Klootchy Creek Giant -- Oregon Sitka blows down

My pal BP has a great post about the giant Oregon Sitka Spruce that blew down in the storms last weekend:

This is one of the oldest living things in Oregon, and one of the biggest trees in the state as well. The tree was coming to the end of its natural life cycle, and showed signs of wear long before this storm finally snapped its trunk.

Here are a couple of other great blog posts about The Klootchy Creek Giant:

Travels With A Muse got to spend some time with the tree last month and took some photos before it fell. And The Grumpy Forester has an amazing retrospective on the Klootchy Creek Giant.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wyden, Devaney investigate political influence on engangered species science

According to The Oregonian, the Interior Department's inspector general will expand an investigation into the alleged political manipulation of decisions on 18 endangered species, including the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

From the article:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. requested the investigation and Inspector General Earl Devaney will look into whether "improper political influence" by department officials led to reduced protections for those key Northwest species and others

Devaney is primed to dig deeper into the activities of Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks who was found to have bullied biologists and altered scientific findings.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Steens Little Blitzen makes BLM's 10 best hikes in the west

The American Hiking Society named its top ten hikes on BLM land in the West. Thanks to Tom Mangan at Two-Heeled drive for the heads up.

In Oregon, the Little Blitzen Gorge hike in Steens Mountain made the cut.

From the site: This well-maintained trail follows Little Blitzen Creek, in the shadow of the headwall of the 10,000-foot Steens Mountain. There are numerous shady campsites, and thousands of wildflowers cling to the nearly vertical walls of the gorge. Lucky hikers might see elk, and early risers could even catch a glimpse of a mountain lion! The trail itself is well graded and not strenuous, but the remote location and possibility of extreme weather present unique challenges.

Here is a roundup of the five days I spent at Steens Mountain last August.