Monday, June 1, 2015

Jackley seeks to shoot up prairie dog protections



Marty Jackley is one of nine Republican attorneys general joining a lawsuit that could undermine the Endangered Species Act by excluding private property from enforcement.
They argue states should manage animals that live only within their borders. This type of prairie dog can only be found in a southwest portion of Utah. But federal attorneys counter that most protected species live only in a single state and courts have long upheld federal authority to manage them. [KJZZ]
South Dakota had made modest improvements raising its grade from 'F' to 'D' on WildEarth Guardians' 2015 Report from the Burrow (pdf). The state's GOP-owned wildlife 'management' agency allows wholesale slaughter of the keystone species on private land; but, habitats and colonies on public lands often overlap where selective killing can disrupt entire ecosystems.

Jackley's actions come after the next step has been taken in the Cain Creek Land Exchange, a public-private land ownership swap in the Conata Basin. Led by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that began buying land there in 2007, sold some land in 2012 to Badlands National Park.
“Where we can consolidate land ownership and have less interface with private landowners and less issues with boundaries and prairie dogs, we’re hopeful that will help alleviate problems,” said Cindy Hockelberg, the U.S. Forest Service project manager for the swap. [Rapid City Journal]
Conata Basin is on the top ten ecotourism sites chosen by the University of Nebraska's Great Plains Center.

Sylvatic plague has been confirmed in prairie dogs in Oglala National Grassland upstream on the White River from Conata Basin. The disease kills black-footed ferrets, the prairie dogs' natural enemy reintroduced by wildlife officials for prairie dog control.

South Dakota is home to the endangered pallid sturgeon at risk to Missouri River dams. The threatened Greater sage grouse and black backed woodpecker could be listed as endangered unless Jackley and the state pulls their heads out of GOP donors' asses and protects habitat.

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