Saturday, April 28, 2018

A tail of two cultures: white privilege and the red road



South Dakota earth hater Marty Jackley is one of nine Republican attorneys general enjoined in a lawsuit that could undermine the Endangered Species Act by excluding private property from enforcement.
Susan Henderson has been drowning prairie dogs at a fast clip — 1,000 since December — but the Fall River County Weed & Pest Board says it's not enough and had planned to come to her Edgemont ranch on Monday to take things into their own hands. In the lawsuit, Henderson stated "there is no emergency" requiring the killing of prairie dogs until later this summer after the eagles and burrowing owls have hatched their young.
Read the rest here.

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.

Prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets are critical to sustain the reintroduction of bison in sage grouse habitat as the West is rewilded.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Prairie Management Program has received a $10,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado. This award will support the efforts of the Prairie Management Program’s Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Project by providing funds that will be used to provide incentive(s) to continue with recovery activities demonstrating Lakota environmental traditions. The Tribe has been actively supportive of a national endeavor to reestablish the Black-footed Ferret throughout the ferrets native range since 1998. After studies and surveys located suitable ferret habitat and navigating federal red tape to obtain the required permits needed under the Endangered Species Act protecting North America most endangered mammal the project then requested an allocation of ferret kits from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Tribe had initially approved Black-footed ferret recovery efforts in the 1993 Prairie Management Program plan and subsequent to recovery planning agreed to a release of sixty-four ferret kits onto a prairie dog colony northeast of Whitehorse, South Dakota in the fall of 2000.
Get that story here.

Jackley's actions came after the step had 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.

Conata Basin is on the top ten ecotourism sites chosen by the University of Nebraska's Great Plains Center.
Only 150 years ago, the prairies of Nebraska and South Dakota were a part of a multi-state sea of native grasses laid out below an upside-down bowl of blue sky, with antelope, songbirds, prairie dog colonies and herds of buffalo roaming miles upon miles of the expanse and not a fence in sight. Agriculture and urban development have overcome the symbolic prairie, replacing hills of grass with crop and pastureland, taming the rivers and wetlands and breaking up the remaining ecosystems with roads, fences and other features of human civilization. Land use is changing in the Great Plains,” said Dirac Twidwell, rangeland ecologist with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “There is considerable momentum for further conversion of our nation’s rangelands to support energy demand.” While development did not seem adverse when examined locally, he and others on the research team led by the University of Montana found that ecosystem degradation was evident when viewed from a large scale via high-resolution satellite measurements of vegetation growth. [Yankton Press & Dakotan, links added]
Sylvatic plague has been confirmed in prairie dogs in the Oglala National Grassland upstream on the White River from Conata Basin and just south of the Henderson place. The disease kills black-footed ferrets, the prairie dogs' natural enemy reintroduced by wildlife officials for prairie dog control.

1 comment:

  1. Update: South Dakota court rules in favor of rancher who refuses to use Fumitoxin to kill prairie dogs. [Rapid City Journal]

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