Coordination and the Caribou
Topic: Big Government
This afternoon I sent out an email to Commissioners in three states as well as folks who helped in the recent partial victory in the ongoing battle to free up our lands in Idaho. Below is the entire thread.
Nov 29, 2012
I wanted to apprise you of a significant victory in Bonner and Boundary Counties. As many of you know, we began Coordination with USFWS over the Critical Habitat designation in the Panhandle of Idaho and Eastern Washington in late 2011. Many pooh-poohed the idea because of unfamiliarity, reluctance to be involved or just plain lack of courage. We persevered and met with USFWS many times and required them to coordinate with us. Shoshone and Benewah Counties signed on and several other counties in Eastern Washington and Western Montana were obliquely involved. Yesterday USFWS came out with their final declaration of “Areas Essential to the Conservation..” (attached). The area was reduced from the initial 375,000+ acres to just a bit over 30,000 acres. While this is indeed a significant victory, we will need to be vigilant and active in pursuing the reduction of this area and the interdiction of areas to be closed for the Wolverine and Lynx. Both animals will certainly be used in the days to come to shut off the use of our land.
I am leaving office January 14 as I lost our local election but I want to encourage all who were in any way involved in this effort to continue the work of taking back control of the federal lands. To those counties that were waiting to see what the outcome would be I challenge you to actively Coordinate with Bonner County in the ongoing effort to safeguard our use of our lands. To the officials who were recalcitrant I implore you to get involved. This works! USFWS has asked us to continue our Coordination process and I truly hope the incoming Board of Commissioners here in Bonner County will do just that. There is much yet to be done. The people who want us off of the land will not stop with this setback. Indeed, one of the local “Conservation” groups is assessing the possibility of litigating this decision. The fact that groups can sue using taxpayer funds needs to be addressed as well but that is a different campaign.
I hope that many will be encouraged with this but be warned, the work must be carried forward and increased and improved. I look forward to working with many of you as a private citizen over the next couple of years in this effort. With perseverance, courage and hard work we can win this.
Bonner County Commissioner
From: Cornel Rasor
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:06 PM
As some of you might know, Bonner County has decided to invoke Coordination with the USFWS regarding the designation of 375,000 more acres in Bonner and Boundary counties in Idaho and Pend Oreille County in Washington. I have attached the USFWS letter advising of the proposal, the federal register document, our Resolution authorizing Bonner County to invoke coordination whenever needed and the draft of our letter invoking coordination to the USFWS.
We unanimously adopted the attached resolution and approved the draft wording in the letter. We will determine what dates we will submit to the USFWS for a meeting and when that is finalized we will send the letter. I will keep you all apprised so as many as wish can attend also.
It is our belief that USFWS must respond to the concerns of local government based upon statute. (see below)
We believe that further restrictions on public lands in the Panhandle and Eastern Washington will devastate the already fragile economies of the Panhandle and surrounding areas. We will be developing the plan for ongoing coordination as we work with the USFWS.
We believe it would be in the best interests of the surrounding counties in Idaho, Eastern Washington and Western Montana to join with us in this endeavor as it is clear from the direction of the USFWS and the USFS over the last thirty years that they intend to lock up and remove from use more and more of our land. Frankly it is my belief and I believe that the other two Bonner County Commissioners concur, that the Federal Government has no constitutional authority to own and regulate the vast tracts of land they do but be that as it may, we are looking at significant loss of economic viability and use of our lands should this proposal to designate these lands to critical habitat for the Caribou be authorized.
Please understand that Coordination is a difficult and time consuming process and that we are engaging in it with the intent to persevere and bring a positive resolution to this attempted closure of public lands. Local governments are given the unique and weighty responsibility to represent their local constituents whenever those constituents are impacted and statute has empowered local government to represent their citizens when supra-governmental activities threaten their freedoms and properties. We believe this is one of those times.
If any of you know private property owners in the proposed area, please either give me their contact information or ask them if they would be willing to work with Bonner County in this endeavor. The proposal includes over fifteen thousand acres of private land.
I have tried to cc or bcc this to anyone who would have an interest in this action but I am certain I have missed some. Please feel free to forward.
Bonner County Commissioner
(1) The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) - 43 USC 1701 -1785,f We recognize that the Act governs grazing range lands, but it also includes a Congressional definition of "coordination" which is applicable to any Congressional use of the word unless it is defined differently);
(2) The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) - 16 USC 1600-1614,
(3) The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - 42 USC 4321-4347.
(4) The Endangered Species Act-16 USC 1531-1544,
(5) The Clean Air Act-42 USC 7401-7431
(6) The Clean Water Act-33 USC 1251 etseq
(7) The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act-16 USC 1271-1287,
(8) The Historic Preservation Act - 16 USC 470,
(9) The Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act- 16USC2001 etseq,
(10) The Rural Environmental Conservation Program - 16 USC 1501 etseq,
(11) The Resource Conservation Act of 1981 - 16 USC 3401 etseq,
(12) The Regulatory Flexibility Act; 0 3) The Data Quality Act.
--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Subject: Service Identifies Areas Essential to the Conservation of the S Selkirk Mtn Woodland Caribou
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 09:36:16 -0800
Service Identifies Areas Essential to the Conservation of the S Selkirk Mtn Woodland Caribou
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office
1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 368
Boise, Idaho, 83709
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 27, 2012
Contact: Bryon Holt, 509-893-8014, email@example.com
Fish and Wildlife Service Identifies Areas Essential to the Conservation of the Southern Selkirk Mountains Population of Woodland Caribou
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today its final critical habitat designation for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou).
The southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou has been protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as an endangered species since 1984. It occurs in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington and British Columbia.
The Service is designating 30,010 acres in Idaho’s Boundary County and Washington’s Pend Oreille County as critical habitat because they contain the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species.
The final designation, modified from the 2011 proposed 375,552-acre designation, is a result of 150 days of public involvement and extensive analysis that included public information meetings, hearings, comment periods, scientific peer review, and a reexamination of information regarding occupancy at the time of the caribou listing.
“Thoughtful inquiry and scientific information was presented to us by Tribes, citizens, federal and State agencies, elected officials and other interested parties. Because of this, we have a modified rule that adheres to policy, is responsive to issues raised by others, and most importantly, addresses priority habitat for caribou conservation,” said Brian T. Kelly, the Service’s Idaho State Supervisor. “We are most appreciative of the time invested by many during the comment periods, public meetings and hearings. We look forward to participation in the collaborative conservation of this species in the future.”
Under the ESA, the Service is required to identify the most important geographic areas that are critical to the conservation of a listed species. The critical habitat designation requires federal agencies to consult with the Service on federal actions that may affect critical habitat, and prohibits federal agencies from carrying out, funding, or authorizing the destruction or adverse modification of the habitat.
Activities undertaken by private landowners that do not involve any federal funding, permits or other activities are not affected by a critical habitat designation. The designation does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve or other conservation area, and it does not allow government or public access to non-federal lands.
The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, required the Service to submit a final critical habitat designation under the terms of a Settlement Agreement with Defenders of Wildlife, Lands Council, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, and the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned the Service to designate critical habitat for the caribou.
The final critical habitat designation; proposed rule; draft economic analysis; maps; public comments and reports are available at http://www.fws.gov/idaho, or by appointment during normal business hours at the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office’s Spokane and/or Boise offices.
For more information, please contact Bryon Holt of the Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office at 509-893-8014, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: THE FINAL RULE IS CURRENTLY POSTED ELECTRONICALLY IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER'S READING ROOM:
www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx. THE FEDERAL REGISTER WILL PUBLISH THE RULE IN THE NOVEMBER 28TH EDITION AT: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/getfrtoc.action
ALL DOCUMENTS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE SERVICE'S IDAHO WEBSITE AT: www.fws.gov/idaho.
The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants, and to date has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We’re working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance
fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service.
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Posted by cornelrasor
at 6:44 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2012 6:57 PM EST