“REWILDING AMERICA” on YOUTUBE

My slide presentation “REWILDING AMERICA” is set up on Youtube as an “unlisted” video, which means you cannot find it by searching Youtube, you must use this link to access the video page.  Once on the video page, you can copy and share the link.  You can also watch the video by clicking the “play” button below.

In this presentation I cover the basic doctrines of REWILDING and demonstrate how it has become FEDERAL policy.

  • Basic definitions – “Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores”
  • Critical Habitat Designations and Species Recovery Zones        (Frogs and toads, grizzly bears, jaguars, and gray wolves.)
  • GAP Analysis, PAD-US, UN-WDPA
  • Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
  • Flaws in the Endangered Species Act
  • Bi-national, tri-national and international treaty obligations
  • Steps we must take in order to derail the REWILDING agenda.
  • Why the truth matters! 

The soundtrack is not the best, so I will apologize ahead of time.  However, the information is just too important, and too timely, to spend any more time editing.

Please note:  This presentation is intended as a basic introduction to REWILDING. There is much more that can be said about each of the various topics presented in the video.   When I share this presentation in person with a group, I provide handouts with additional information and bring with me numerous studies and thousands of pages of documentation in over a dozen notebooks.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them here, or on the Youtube video page.

The Truth About Grizzly Bear Recovery

The truth about grizzly bear recovery is simple.

Picture4
Grizzly Bear Range -in North America

The species (Ursus arctos) enjoys the second most extensive circum-polar range of any large terrestrial predator on the planet.  Tens of thousands of grizzly (or “brown”) bears roam freely in North America and tens of thousands more across Europe and Asia.   Grizzly bears were never an endangered species and continue to receive FEDERAL protections merely in order to fulfill REWILDING objectives.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated six core “Grizzly Bear Recovery Zones” in  the United States south of the Canadian border.  They claim that  bears living in these “core” areas are subject to “genetic isolation” and therefore it is necessary to establish linkages to other grizzly bear “core” areas by well regulated “systems of connectivity” in order to facilitate bear movement and genetic diversity.

Their ultimate goal is to expand grizzly bear range out from all of these core areas in all directions until a significant portion of the bear’s historic range in the U.S. has been regained, or until public tolerance for the program has evaporated.

See:  http://methowconservancy.org/cours/2017/gbear_recovery_nc_ecosystem_gaines.pdf

The North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Area (NCGBR) is one of the largest contiguous blocks of FEDERAL land in the lower 48 states, encompassing more than 9,000 square miles within north central Washington state.  The NCGBR is already well connected with grizzly habitat on the Canadian side of the border.

Picture3

Picture1

The grizzly population in British Columbia is estimated at 15,000+

Grizzly populations in the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaakgrizzly bear linkages zones have been “augmented” with surplus bears originating in other areas.  And, just like the Continental Divide and Yellowstone grizzly populations, the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak bears are expanding their range in all directions.  The Trans-boundary grizzly bear core areas are well connected to major bear populations in Canada.  These not-so-isolated populations have already proven their willingness to share “genetic diversity”.

Connecting corridors between the NCGBR and the Selkirk/Cabinet-Yaak GBR’s in N. Idaho and W. Montana is a relatively simple process.  It’s just a matter of removing a few obstacles, or “gaps” that pose barriers to species movement across Washington State. Obstacles such as private property, or grazing allotments, just have to be mitigated to enhance species movement.

Picture2
Trans-Boundary Grizzly Bear Project Map showing core habitat areas and estimated populations in the trans-border region

The Nature Conservancy has completed an 8 year study using GAP Analysis to map where conservation easements, land purchases, and government regulations will be most effective in removing “gaps” in bio-connectivity across the Northwest.    Their work has already been incorporated into the Department of Interior’s Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative planning process.

So what’s really going on? The truth is that grizzly bear “recovery” efforts are nothing more than a tool to attack private property rights and continue the process of REWILDING America.

Areas of Connectivity – Methods

Conservation easements

Public / private land exchanges

Purchase of development rights (PDR)

Land use planning, zoning, and growth management

Voluntary agreements among stakeholders and landowners

For more information see the following websites and pdf’s.  (Please note, if the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the document title into your web browser.)

“Conserving Nature’s Stage: Mapping Omnidirectional Connectivity for Resilient Terrestrial Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest”

and

“Regional Connectivity – USDA Conservation Corridor Planning at the Landscape Level- Managing For Wildlife Habitat”

https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/5807ba6de4b0841e59e3a49

and…

“Conserving Nature’s Stage: Identifying Resilient Terrestrial Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest”

https://www.conservationgateway.org/ConservationByGeography/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/oregon/science/Documents/PNW%20Terrestrial%20Climate%20Resilience%20Report%20March3%202015.pdf

https://tinyurl.com/lp9z7vx

and…

https://databasin.org/galleries/e41a3ea84e78463bbf9f03ce2f8e9205

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT?

The 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) is in need of an overhaul. The Act was originally envisioned as a tool to protect species at serious risk of extinction. Unfortunately, over the last twenty-four years, the Endangered Species Act has been transformed into a weapon used to insure that the United States adheres to REWILDING commitments made under the U.N.- Convention on Biological Diversity Treaty, signed by Clinton in 1993, and the U.N.- 2030 Sustainable Development Treaty,  signed by Obama in 2015.   These UN treaties require huge swaths of land to be set aside in “ecologically representative and well CONNECTED systems of protected areas [CORES]… integrated into the wider [continental scale] landscapes.”

ESA provisions can regulate land use on private land. The Act requires formal Habitat Conservation Plans such as “Critical Habitat Designations” and species “Recovery Zones” which can impact both public and private land useage.

There are two main deficiencies in the Endangered Species Act as currently written.

The first flaw that needs correction is that the ESA allows for determining the status of a species based on “regionalism”.   The ESA as currently written allows for estimates of “historic range” to be the determining factor in whether or not a species is considered “threatened” or “endangered”.    Basing species protections on historic range ignores factors such as real population levels, sufficiency of current range, projected future trends, the requirements of other species, and compatibility with human activity, human settlement, and human values.  Humanity should not have to take a back seat to frogs and toads, nor should lines on a map be allowed to carry  more weight than basic biological and scientific facts.

The second major flaw in the Act is that it allows the Federal government, via Department of Interior agencies, to impose “Critical Habitat Designations”, species “Recovery Zones”, and other wildlife, resource, and land management plans, at will, arbitrarily, without any State, County, or legislative input or oversight.  It allows the Department of Interior to conduct international negotiations and form bi-lateral and tri-national agreements without Congressional approval.

As a result of these flaws, the Act has been misused to expand the range of many large non-endangered carnivores such as the gray wolf, grizzly bear, and jaguar.  The Act has been used to exterminate “non-native” trout and return hundreds of lakes and rivers in the Sierra Nevada mountains to their  “natural, historic fishless condition”.  The result is that a once vibrant backcountry fishery is being arbitrarily and systematically eliminated to allow for an increase in insect populations that benefit “native” frogs and toads.

There are a number of Congressional bills at various stages in the legislature.  Here’s a partial list and brief synopsis of some of the proposed legislation designed to correct some of the flaws in the ESA.  (Click on the highlighted text to read the bill.)

  • The Federal Land Freedom Act,  designed to achieve domestic energy independence by empowering States to control the development and production of all forms of energy on all available Federal land.
  • The 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, currently in the Senate, would require all scientific data the government uses to list a species as “endangered” or “threatened” to be made public.  As it stands today, much of the so-called “science” put forth by environmentalists hell bent on getting a species listed as “threatened” or “endangered” is based on fraudulent “conservation biology” value-laden concepts that are wholly unsupported by sound scientific data.  Restrictive regulations which accompany massive Federal land grabs such as “Critical Habitat Designations” and “Recovery Zones”, have been based on “Conservation Biology”, a.k.a. REWILDING nonsense instead of on scientifically verifiable biological facts.
  • The Listing Reform Act, currently in the House of Representatives,  amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require a review of the projected economic costs of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, as well as the economic costs to local economies when the Federal government imposes such things as a “Critical Habitat Designation”, and requires a review of the cumulative effect such mandates and regulations have on local economies.

It’s time to call your elected representatives and ask them to get on board with these and other legislative measures designed to correct serious flaws in the ESA and stop the wholesale REWILDING of America.

NOT JUST THE EARS, BUT THE WHOLE ENCHILADA: The North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone

The proposed USFWS North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone encompasses millions of acres in Washington State, including established National Parks and Wilderness Areas, National and State Forest land, municipalities and towns, recreational facilities such as ski areas and campgrounds, and tens of thousands of acres of private property. The designation will have serious long term impacts on natural resource and land management decisions in Washington State for generations to come.

north_cascades_recov

Please keep the following definition in mind as your review the rest of this article…

re·wild

rēˈwīld/

Verb

gerund or present participle: REWILDING

restore an area of land to its natural uncultivated state (used especially with reference to the reintroduction of species of wild animal- usually a large carnivore, that has been driven out or exterminated from a particular region).

 As a well informed, responsible, citizen, I felt obligated to submit my comment on the USFWS/NPS draft EIS.  The following comment was entered into the official record on 2/26/17 at 12:03 PM Mountain Time:
Designating millions of acres as a “North Cascade Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone”, whose outline includes numerous towns and tens of thousands of acres of private property, is yet another example of how the Endangered Species Act has been misused to promote range expansion for a non-endangered species.
FACT: Ursus arctos (the North American Brown or common “Grizzly” bear) is listed as a “Species of Least Concern” by the IUCN. The species, which includes all of it’s recognized sub-species, already enjoy one of the largest [most extensive] circum-polar ranges of any large terrestrial predator on earth, (second only to the Gray Wolf).
For the USFWS, NPS, or any State wildlife agency to determine the legal status of any species by comparing current range with estimated historic range or somebody’s idea of “desired” range, ignores factors such as real population levels, actual and perceived threats, projected future trends, the requirements of and impacts on other species, compatibility with human activity, human settlement, and human values.
Whereas, the original intent of the Endangered Species Act was to insure the survival of specific species that faced a serious threat of extinction, there is no basis for using the law as a tool to promote range expansion for any non-threatened species, let alone a species as impactful as the Grizzly/Brown Bear.
FACT: The “North Cascades Recovery Zone” in Washington State is NOT essential for insuring the long term survival of Ursus arctos.
Designating millions of acres as a “core reserve” for this large non-endangered predator will have profound impacts on all current and future land management decisions, especially pertaining to timber management, fire suppression, road construction, water diversion, livestock grazing, hunting, and recreational activities.
The designation [listing] of the Grizzly bear (and the Gray Wolf for that matter) as “threatened” or “endangered” makes a mockery out of the intent of the Endangered Species Act.
Finally, upon the de-listing of the species, Ursus arctos (including all sub-species), I urge that a well regulated hunting season be implemented to control Grizzly Bear population densities and help insure that human/bear conflicts and impacts on other wildlife species are mitigated.

Comment ID: 1090841-77025/1611
I based my comment on verifiable scientific and biological facts.  The USFWS map pictured below shows all of the core Grizzly Bear recovery areas (dark green), potential habitat (light green), and historic range/migration corridors (grey) that the USFWS, working in partnership with REWILDING proponents, claim are necessary to insure that Ursus arctos survives south of the 49th Parallel.  However, even the USFWS and the NPS readily admit that Grizzly Bear numbers are increasing and their range is already expanding south of the Canadian border without very many restrictions.
grizzlybearsinthewest_300

This IUCN map pictured below, shows the extensive circum-polar range (mustard color) of the “Grizzly” or “Brown Bear”,  (Ursus arctos).  Granted, the species has been extirpated or exterminated from some portions of their historic range, however, according to the IUCN,  the species is not even close to being threatened or endangered.

brown-bear-distribution-map

Non-endangered species such as the Grizzly Bear and the Gray Wolf are being used to control and restrict how our western lands are utilized.   In view of all the scientifically verifiable facts regarding the health of Ursus arctos as a species, the sufficiency of their current range, and actual population trends, there is no scientific rationale for expanding Grizzly Bear range into Washington State.

The public comment period on the draft EIS is open until March 14, 2017.  If you wish to leave a comment,  click here, or go to

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkID=327&projectID=44144

JAGUAR DESIGNATION MAY BLOCK “TRUMP’S WALL”

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 requires the development of plans to protect listed threatened or endangered species and their habitats.  In fulfilling this mandate, the USFWS has designated millions of acres as “Critical Habitat” for a number of target species.Junior-Jaguar-Belize-Zoo

In my previous post I discussed the recent “USFWS Critical Habitat Designation for Frogs and Toads” which encompasses 3000 sq. miles in California.  Such a designation sets in motion special requirements and/or restrictions on all sorts of traditional “multiple use” activities.   “Mitigation strategies” must be developed and submitted for any activity that might negatively impact the target species.

In the case of the Frog/Toad designation, activities such as livestock grazing, timber management, water storage and diversion, and recreational activities, including fish stocking programs must be evaluated and steps taken to mitigate or REVERSE impacts.  To date, hundreds of lakes and waterways in the Sierra Nevada range have been rendered “fishless” by National Park and CDFW biologists in order to protect frog habitat.  [See my post on “trout eradication” projects here.]

081612jaguarmapIn 2014, the USFWS designated six critical habitat units, as defined under the ESA, for the jaguar (Panthera onca).  The total U.S. land area in the Jaguar Critical Habitat designation encompass approximately 309,263 hectares (764,207 acres) in Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise Counties, Arizona, and Hidalgo County, New Mexico (USFWS 2014).

According to the latest USFWS information released during the waning days of the Obama administration, “CONNECTIVITY with MEXICO” is a critical feature of the Jaguar Critical Habitat Designation:

There are seven primary constituent elements of critical habitat that make up the habitat features included in the physical and biological feature that meets the physiological, behavioral, and ecological needs of the species. This physical and biological feature, including these seven elements, is:

1) PROVIDE CONNECTIVITY WITH MEXICO;

2) Contain adequate levels of native prey species, including deer and javelina, as well as medium-sized prey such as coatis, skunks, raccoons, or jackrabbits;

3) Include surface water sources available within 20 km (12.4 mi) of each other;

4) Contain from greater than 1 to 50 percent canopy cover within Madrean evergreen woodland, generally recognized by a mixture of oak (Quercusspp.), juniper (Juniperus spp.), and pine (Pinus spp.) trees, on the landscape, or semidesert grassland vegetation communities, usually characterized by Pleuraphis mutica (tobosagrass) or Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama) along with other grasses;

5) Are characterized by intermediately, moderately, or highly rugged terrain;

6) Are below 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) in elevation; and

7) Are characterized by minimal to no human population density, no major roads, or no stable nighttime lighting over any 1-km2(0.4-mi2) area.

Wolves, grizzly bears, and now Jaguars, are the tip of the REWILDING spear in North America.  Building a “large, physical barrier”, or wall,  on the border with Mexico could be considered a direct violation of the ESA as well as several international treaties because it prevents “connectivity” with jaguar and wolf habitat in Mexico.

The construction of “Trump’s Wall” will not only face a tremendous battle in Congress, but also a landslide of lawsuits filed in FEDERAL court by a coalition of environmental groups that may tie up construction for decades.

The bottom line is this:  If the Trump administration wants to build a “wall” on the border with Mexico, it will FIRST have to take steps to repeal, or rewrite the ESA.  It will also have to get Congress to repeal the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) which allows environmental groups to recoup their legal expenses with taxpayer money.

For further background, click on this link to my 2012 article- REWILDING ARIZONA: 2012 Jaguar Recovery Plan 

Sources for this article include:

https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/SpeciesDocs/Jaguar/Jaguar_Draft_Recovery_Plan_20_Dec_2016.pdf

https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/SpeciesDocs/Jaguar/Jaguar_draft_Recovery_Plan_NEWS_RELEASE_12-19-2016_final.pdf

https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Jaguar.htm

http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/01/11/california-lt-gov-well-stop-trumps-wall-environmental-suits/

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/border-wall-01-25-2017.php

https://www.outsideonline.com/2075761/trumps-wall-threatens-111-endangered-species

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/26/environmental-impact-us-mexico-border-wall-426310.html

FROGS VS FISH – HOW A NATIVE SPECIES BECAME A GOD

The Federal government just locked up another 3,000 sq. miles of public land in California by designating it as “Critical Habitat” for three different species of amphibians.

This knee jerk land lock-up action is no surprise to me.  For the past 16 years I’ve been watching as Federal and State wildlife biologists have granted certain species of frogs and toads an elevated, almost mythic status similar to gray wolves.   In 2002 retiring National Park biologist Harold Werner bragged about the trout eradication program he began in Yosemite National Park.  Werner referred to trout removal as a “lake restoration” program designed to benefit amphibians and insects.  Werner and his colleagues hoped to expand trout removal, a.k.a. “lake restoration”, to 150 Sierra lakes in order to mitigate a “known threat” to the amphibian population.

The fact that introduced trout have co-existed with frogs and toads since they were planted in California’s Sierra Nevada Range nearly 90 years ago didn’t matter to Werner.  The fact that other natural and environmental  factors, such as chytrid fungus, air pollution, ultra violet radiation, and/or climate change, may be negatively impacting amphibian populations didn’t matter either.  A lawsuit filed by environmental groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity claims that all introduced, or “non-native trout species” must be eliminated from our National Parks and Wilderness Areas because they are not endemic to the area and their elimination is considered absolutely essential in order to save “native” frogs.

To mitigate one perceived threat to amphibians, Federal and State agencies have embarked on a poisoning and gill netting campaign to exterminate “non-native” fish both inside and outside of national park boundaries.  By early 2013 some 89 named lakes and hundreds of miles of streams throughout the Sierra Nevada range had been “restored to their natural, fishless condition”.   A very small percentage of these water bodies were re-stocked with “native” California Golden Trout, but the vast majority of waterways treated in the “restoration” program have been rendered fishless.   The official number of lakes and streams where all non-native trout have been exterminated is likely understated.  For example, the area known as “Sixty Lakes Basin” appears to have been counted as one waterway.

frog habitatThe recent USFWS mandated “Critical Habitat” designation comprises an area of close to 1 million acres exclusively set aside for the protection of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, an additional 221,498 acres for a sub-species of mountain yellow-legged frog, and another 750,926 acres for the Yosemite toad.  The  mandate will likely expand the trout removal program ten fold and include hundreds of additional alpine lakes and thousands of miles of streams across several western states.

But trout fishing in the Sierra Nevada is not the only activity that will take a hit because of these new protections for frogs. Other activities that will be more strictly controlled or eliminated altogether include cattle grazing, flood control (dam building), fire management and suppression, and timber harvesting.  The USFWS has identified sixteen risk factors that need to be mitigated in order to insure the survival of frogs and toads. 

These factors are:

  • Acid deposition
  • Airborne contaminants, including pesticides
  • Climate change
  • Disease
  • Fire management, including fire suppression
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Introduced fish and other predators
  • Livestock grazing
  • Locally applied pesticides
  • Recreational activities, including packstock
  • Research activity
  • Restoration
  • Roads
  • UV-B radiation
  • Vegetation and fuels management
  • Water development and diversion

Unfortunately, as I predicted in my 2014 article entitiled, “Where Does Your Treasure Lie- How Preserving Native Species has become a Religion“, the removal of “non-native” trout to protect frogs is not limited to California, but is spreading across the country.

In Wyoming, the Teton Wilderness “lake restoration” project is expected to be completed be the summer of 2017.   Currently, the Wyoming Department of Fish and Game (WDFG) is killing “non-native” trout in two lakes and creeks in the Teton Wilderness just south of Yellowstone National Park.  Introduced Rainbow and Brook Trout will be eradicated with Rotenone applications in Dime Lake and Mystery Lake and their corresponding outflows.   Mystery Lake will be restocked with “native” cutthroat trout, while Dime lake will be left fishless in order to protect the “native” Columbia Spotted Frog population.

Further south, in the Wind River Range, research is currently being conducted on other Rocky Mountain amphibian populations to determine how best to mitigate threats to their survival.   Quoting from one field study (linked below),  “threats include diseases such as amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus, pesticides, herbicides, environmental pollutants, invasive species, non-native species, ultraviolet radiation, and habitat loss and fragmentation.”

The terms invasive and non-native refer to multiple species of introduced trout.  It is a historical fact that just as the high mountain lakes in the Sierra Range were historically fishless, most of the alpine lakes and high mountain streams in the Wind River Range were also fishless prior to the fish stocking programs conducted in the 1930’s and ’40’s by Finis Mitchell and others.  As a result of the tireless work of these individuals, the Wind River Range was transformed from a barren landscape into one of the most unique and diverse trout fisheries anywhere in the world.  But now, after nearly 90 years of living side by side with frogs the trout have all of a sudden become a “known threat”, and must be destroyed.

“Critical Habitat” designations open the door to limitless Federal land grabs. Wake up Wyoming!  Wake up America!  In a few short years hundreds of Wind River lakes and streams that now contain self-sustaining populations of trout species such as Rainbow, Brook, German Brown, California Golden, Yellowstone Cutthroat, and Arctic Grayling, may be rendered fishless in order to protect one or more arbitrarily designated “keystone” frog species that are very likely succumbing to factors other than “non-native” trout.

Sources for this article:

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article97900392.html

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-08-26/pdf/2016-20352.pdf

http://www.sierranaturenotes.com/naturenotes/SavingFrogs.htm

http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?project=41027

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3836426.pdf

http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/9493/insects-and-trout-topdown-ecosystem-study/

https://www.uwyo.edu/wyndd/_files/docs/reports/wynddreports/u14est01wyus.pdf

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/foothill-yellow-legged-frog-03-16-2016.html

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5363180.pdf

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/amphibians/foothill_yellow-legged_frog/

https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/09/03/a-flying-fish-that-transformed-the-sierra-for-better-and-for-worse/

http://www.pacificlegal.org/cases/critical-habitat-decree-opens-the-way-for-limitless-federal-land-grabs

RMEF: A Wolf in Elk Clothing

The average American sportsman is unaware that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation [RMEF] exists to promote REWILDING.  [For those of you who are ignorant of the REWILDING concept, please see my previous blog posts on the topic.]

One of RMEF’s primary goals is to restore elk to their natural “historic range” across North America.[i]   For most sportsmen, that sounds like a great idea.  But what will America look like if/when RMEF’s stated  goal of elk restoration is complete?

Compare RMEF’s vision for elk restoration with the wolf advocate’s vision for continental scale gray wolf conservation/restoration as stated on the REWILDING Institute webpage:

We call for the recovery of wolves across North America.  Such recovery means:

  • Restoration of wolves in suitable habitat throughout their former range in North America, from the Northern Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico to the Canadian Rockies and Coast Range, and from the U.S. Pacific Northwest to the Upper Great Lakes and to upstate New York and New England.
  • Restoration of potentially suitable habitats and crucial linkages between patches of suitable wolf habitat where wolves are free to behave like wolves.
  • Restoration of wolves in ecologically and evolutionarily effective populations so that they may fulfill their natural keystone role of ecosystem regulation, aiding the persistence of native flora and fauna.
  • Restoration of wolves throughout this expanse, so that all wolf populations are connected by a continuum of functioning dispersal linkages.

In short, we envision the return of the wolf to its rightful place in North American wildlands, to a community where humans dwell with respect and tolerance for wild species. [ii]

 

“The RMEF works to reestablish elk herds in historic ranges where the habitat and human cultural tolerance create a high potential for self-sustaining herds.”[iii]

“The RMEF uses advanced habitat mapping technology (GIS) to identify and prioritize the most crucial elk winter and summer ranges, migration corridors and calving areas. We then work with our partners, including willing landowners, government agencies, corporations, foundations and other conservation groups to permanently protect the most critical habitat and target areas for public access. Our land conservation tools include: land acquisitions, access agreements and easements, land and real estate donations, contributions, land exchanges and associated acres.”

http://www.rmef.org/Conservation/HowWeConserve/LandProtection.aspx

 

RMEF’s vision for elk restoration is every bit as expansive as the REWILDING Institute’s wolf restoration vision.  RMEF is working toward the same goal using elk that the wolf advocates are striving to accomplish using wolves, a vision collectively known as “Continental Scale REWILDING”, albeit with a nod given by RMEF to the notion of “cultural tolerance”:

Perhaps the parallels between the wolf advocate’s agenda and the RMEF agenda can best be demonstrated by a comparison of each groups own map showing the current and historic ranges of their favorite “keystone” species.  The wolf range map is posted on the Defender’s of Wildlife webpage.  The elk range map is posted on an RMEF page.  (Note: both maps are used here without permission under the “fair use” copyright exception and are intended for educational and discussion purposes only.)

defendersmap-jpgElkRange_HistoricalCurrent

Historic gray wolf range closely mirrors historic elk range.  This is not surprising to anyone who has studied the history of wildlife in North America.  In fact, as I noted in my 2004 article entitled “The Howling-  Reflections on the Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Program and the Implications for Non-migratory Caribou and Elk”,  if wolf populations are allowed to continue expanding, they will continue driving down ungulate numbers to unacceptable levels UNLESS large prey species such as elk are allowed to greatly expand their range by re-establishing historic migration patterns.  This can only be accomplished by REWILDING large swaths of rural America.

Again, the goals are the same.  While one group utilizes a large carnivore to accomplish REWILDING objectives, the other uses a prey species.  It should also be noted that other groups advocate  just as vehemently for the restoration of the historic ranges for their favorite species- i.e. wild horses, bison, grizzly bears or jaguars.  All of these advocacy groups seek to control how our land is utilized and what America will look like in the not too distant future.

I find it ironic and somewhat hypocritical that sportsmen can decry the expansion of gray wolf range, yet applaud the expansion of elk range.  There are some notable differences in tactics and strategy between the prey and predator advocacy groups, but the goal of taking, a.k.a. “acquiring” private property and creating massive “cores” and connecting “corridors” between large swaths of permanently protected areas is identical.

RMEF primarily gains ground by “establishing conservation easements, facilitating land exchanges and conducting land acquisitions that allow strategic parcels of private land to be protected from development”.   Radical REWILDING groups acquire land, or control of land, in much the same way.  They all gain ground by lobbying politicians and infiltrating land management agencies to influence how existing public land is utilized while advocating for increased wilderness and core conservation areas.

RMEF promotes elk for their own sake, yet also as a species to be enjoyed, managed, and hunted for sport and food.   The wolf advocates also want to see elk range greatly expanded, but primarily because they view elk as a needed food source for their favorite large carnivore as it repatriates itself to the farthest reaches of their former range.

The REWILDING agenda elevates the protection of wildlife above everything else. Success is measured by how much land is acquired and/or controlled.   Successfully implemented, REWILDING precludes or restricts land uses such as livestock grazing, timber harvesting,  mineral extraction, dam building, or any other use that might conflict with the perceived needs of the target, or “keystone” species.

So….to answer the question,  “What will America look like if/when RMEF’s stated goal of elk restoration is complete?   –  It will look exactly the same if/when the Defender’s of Wildlife,  Center for Biological Diversity,  Wildlands Project, the REWILDING Institute, and yes, the advocates for UN Agenda 21, achieve their goals.

Sources for this article:

[i] http://www.rmef.org/Conservation/HowWeConserve.aspx

 

[ii] http://rewilding.org/rewildit/about-tri/vision/

 

[iii] http://www.rmef.org/Conservation/HowWeConserve.aspx