Friday, March 27, 2015

South Dakota wildlife killers want non-native fish in Missouri basin

There has been considerable flap over attempts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to close the DC Booth Hatchery in Spearditch, especially when facility is well-supported by tourists and locals alike. But, it's hard to imagine the Service continuing to support the release of hybrid and non-native trout by South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish & Parking Lot Construction when native species are being threatened in the Missouri River basin.
The hatcheries were slated to receive 20,000 Atlantic salmon eggs apiece this year from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in New Hampshire. The first Atlantic salmon would have been reared at the hatchery for nearly a year before being stocked into Lake Oahe in 2016. They would take the place of roughly 40,000 of the Chinook salmon the GFP currently raises. That way there is no net increase of salmon in Lake Oahe, just a new species. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Chinook and Atlantic salmon are not native to the Missouri River, neither is northern pike.

It is said that trout are not native to the Hills: how that can be remains a mystery as cutthroat lived in the Platte to the south and Powder to the north. One explanation might be the concentrations of dissolved metals in the local hydrology.

There is no evidence of native trout in the Little Missouri flowing north out of the Wyoming sage steppe, either. As the Black Hills has never been glaciated, the continual use of fire on the Black Hills by human inhabitants for the last ten thousand years may have rendered ancient fisheries unable to sustain salmonids: perhaps those factors combined.
Mike Cummings believes anglers should have a wider variety of game fish to go after when fishing in Black Hills reservoirs — and one of the species he is pushing is the highly sought-after walleye. Cummings, owner of The Rooster bait and tackle shop in Rapid City, said a proposed 5-year South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department management plan for Black Hills reservoir fishing puts too much emphasis on management of trout. [Rapid City Journal]
Walleye was introduced to the Missouri River concurrent with the construction of the main stem dams.
Walleye was first reported in Wyoming in 1961 from Seminoe Reservoir in the upper North Platte River. The fish were swept downstream and are now established in a 450-km stretch of river (McMahon and Bennett 1996). The walleye was stocked illegally in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana, and was found first circa 1991 (White, personal communication). More recently, the species also was illegally stocked in Noxon Reservoir on the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, Montana (McMahon and Bennett 1996). Illegal introductions seem to be a growing problem in western states (McMahon and Bennett 1996). [USGS, nonindigenous aquatic species]
Native fish like pallid sturgeon are in danger of extirpation in the dam-choked Missouri River.

It's the opinion of this interested party that USFWS should block releases of these fish into any part of the system but preventing the community to find a way to finance rearing for private ponds would be unthinkable.

How a GOP-owned agency like SDGF&P is enabled instead of being sued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service remains a mystery.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rapid City mayoral election referendum on race relations

Few dispute that Rapid City is divided by race and income.
On March 5, Mayor Sam Kooiker announced his intentions to seek re-election. When asked about his biggest challenge, regarding the Native American community, in the past four years as mayor, Kooiker says, “Making strides in race relations and having things happen which set things back.” The other example of efforts to involve minorities in city positions was the failed appointment of Elias Diaz; which Kooiker claims was conspired by members of city council. Diaz would have been the first Native American, or minority, in the position of police chief in Rapid City. [excerpt, Richie Richards, Native Sun News]
An analysis of the previous election from Joseph Budd appeared in the Native Sun News and was reposted at
But in all, it would prove to be a close fight, as Hanks would win 12 precincts, out of 25 in the city to speak of. For the Native Americans within Rapid City, voting in specific areas tended to highlight this. The Lakota Homes subdivision, located within the Ward Four, Precinct Three, would have 193 votes for Hanks, while 285 votes would be counted for Kooiker. North Rapid, the section that Kooiker had mentioned regarding gerrymandering issues, would vote for Kooiker as well, with a 198-109 total. Overall, Kooiker’s win highlighted the division in Rapid City, between the well-to-do living in West side and Sheridan Lake Road areas and the middle-lower class living on the East and North Side, but it also highlighted that those traditionally living in North Rapid, are now spreading out to other parts of Rapid City. During Kooiker’s censure, several people were brought forth to defend his freedom of speech, including Robert Doody, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.
Former mayor Alan Hanks is a Roman Catholic. That sect is deeply rooted in the collective Native unconscious as the psychosexual predators that colluded with the US to abrogate the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

Also a Catholic, Kevin Woster reported in the Rapid City Journal:
I pondered the question when I saw Kooiker Monday night during a Fourth of July celebration at the southwest Rapid City home of Qusi and Jamie Al-haj. Qusi is a former Republican Party leader in Pennington County and current West River director for U.S. Sen. John Thune. And when Qusi celebrates, he enjoys a little company. Last week, that included familiar Republicans such as Ken Davis and J.P. Duniphan. It also included the most devout of Democrats, Bill Walsh, who announced loudly that Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were the world's three greatest leaders.
The opulent west side Blessed Sacrament Church parking lot looks like a Lexus/Lincoln dealership every Sunday. Sam Kooiker is a white evangelical Protestant with ties to the sovereign movement, the radical anti-government secessionist wing of the Republican Party, that seeks to woo tribal members in other political races.

After 5-shooting an unarmed American Indian man a Pennington County deputy will face a wrongful-death lawsuit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit last week upheld Chief U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken's decision concerning the lawsuit filed by Jerry and Jaylene Capps in 2012 on behalf of their Native-American son. The parents claim the deputy violated their son's constitutional rights and used excessive force. [Rapid City Journal]
Also announcing for the race race is a former police chief whose force was accused of being a 'bunch of racists' by a former member of the judiciary.

A civil trial is underway in Rapid City involving an American Indian man who claims Rapid City Regional Hospital employees intentionally carved the letters 'KKK' into his abdomen.
A Native American man scored a legal and symbolic court victory on Thursday in Rapid City with his acquittal on a charge of fishing without a license. James Swan, 53, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a Rapid City resident, represented himself in 7th Circuit Magistrate Court at the Pennington County Courthouse. Will Williams, of the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, was the prosecutor. [Seth Tupper]
No Democrat has announced for the Rapid City mayoral contest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

South Dakota preparing air strikes on Montana

After the 1997 crash of an Ellsworth-based B1-B in Carter County, Montana a responding volunteer firefighter from Alzada told this interested party the multi-million dollar aircraft was brought down by a rancher with a .30-30 Winchester. Just miles away another multi-million dollar bomber augured in recently as did a private aircraft.

Expect it to happen even more often now.
Roger Meggers, who manages Eastern Montana’s Baker Municipal Airport, was in Washington on Tuesday meeting with lawmakers about the expansion. Meggers said the expanded airspace would cause significant delays at his small airport, and he said military aircraft traveling at high speeds are a serious safety concern for other aviators. “We’re disappointed and feel that the aircraft and public safety is at risk with the way it’s going forward,” he said. “It’s definitely a plus for South Dakota at the expense of Montana.” [Billings Gazette]
Hoka hey!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Six: bark beetles shape Mountain West water supplies

Update, 24 March, 0751 MDT: researchers trying to find a correlation between wildfires and beetle killed areas in lodgepole pine did not find one.
Distribution of aspen decline mapped during 2000–2010, the decline is shown in purple. Aspen’s climatic niche during 1961–1990 is shown in green. The dashed lines show regions of decline where demarcation is unclear. Many areas were not surveyed, so additional symptomatic areas exist that were not mapped. Credit James Worrall / U.S. Forest Service
Lodgepole tends to be logged for post, pole and oriented strand board (OSB); ponderosa pine, Douglas Fir and Engelmann Spruce tend to be logged for lumber.

Lodgepole pine and Douglas Fir have been extirpated from the Black Hills for nearly a century: the oldest aspen was virtually logged out during European settlement; yet, tiny stands of old-growth ponderosa pine can still be found in the Hills.

Ponderosa pine contains a much higher level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than many other cone-bearing trees and tends to be more explosive in wildfire conditions especially when under drought stress. Beetle-affected trees are pockmarked with 'pitchouts' that burst into flames during wildfires and torch more readily.



Bark Beetles Are Decimating Our Forests. That Might Actually Be a Good Thing.

h/t jerry.
On Friday, in the online journal “Forests,” University of Montana pine-beetle biologist Diana Six and two University of California-Berkeley policy experts published a review of the scientific evidence to date on whether forest manipulation is effective at preventing pine-beetle outbreaks. The answer is generally “No.” The paper concludes that weakening environmental laws to combat beetle outbreaks is unjustified given the high financial cost of continual treatment, the negative impacts such treatment can have on other values of the forest, and the possibility that trying to control beetles now could hurt forests as they try to survive climate change in the future. [Laura Lundquist, Research survey does not support logging as beetle outbreak remedy, Bozeman Daily Chronicle]
Montana's history of failed forest policy is legion.

As South Dakota's wildlife management bureaupublicans release disease-prone bighorn sheep onto federal lands, ostensibly to knock down a cheatgrass infestation created by the failure of Black Hills forest policy, the GOP-owned agency wants to kill more mountain goats.
“By our estimates (the population) was well below 100 animals,” said John Kanta, regional wildlife manager for the GF&P. “We were down around 60-70 mountain goats just prior to closing the [2007] season.” The cause of population decline was and remains largely unknown; however, there are some suspected causes. The first comes from a loss of habitat.
Kanta said that in 2007 the rapid increase in pine beetle infestation killed thousands of acres of trees leading to a more open canopy and better habitat for the animals.[Mark Watson]
Let's see: beetles bad but beetles good. Got it.
From Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013, Lawrence County cut 48,000 non-commercial trees on Black Hills National Forest land. Meade County cut 6,214 trees on federal land while Pennington County cut 3,217 during that same period. According to the report criticizing Meade County’s management of the cut and chunk project, John Ball, a South Dakota State University Extension forestry specialist, claims the majority of the trees marked and cut were not infested, meaning within treated stands the crews caused more tree mortality than the beetles. Commissioner Alan Aker, who supervised the Meade County cut and chunk program, says the state ag department’s report is false. Aker, who also owns Aker Woods Company that was contracted to mark and cut infested trees, says that less than three percent of trees cut had no sign of infestation. According to Aker, those trees were cut to ensure worker safety. South Dakota spent $1.9 million in fiscal year 2012 in the ongoing fight against mountain pine beetles. An additional $2.4 million was spent in fiscal year 2013. The governor’s office anticipates appropriating $3.7 million, in fiscal year 2014. [Francie Ganje, KBHB Radio]
A university extension specialist working for the state questioning a Republican former legislator about contracts to remove dead trees on federal ground: priceless.
Sen. John Thune and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem’s offices announced this week that $1.5 million will be added to the Black Hills National Forest’s 2014 budget. The Forest Service said the money will be used to remove additional bug-infested trees. A recent report by the South Dakota state forester alleged that loggers were cutting healthy trees along with the bug-infested ones. [Meredith Colias, Rapid City Journal]
Remove the predators, expect pine beetle outbreaks. Pine needles absorb heat and shed snowmelt, aspen leaves reflect sunlight in summer and hold snowpacks.
The moisture in the Black Hills snowpack is not only better than last year, it beats the 30-year average according to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. When compared to the 30-year moisture average, all but one of the course readings are anywhere from 107 percent to 193 percent. [Jack Siebold, KOTA teevee]
150 years ago Populus tremuloides was the predominant deciduous tree species on the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountain Complex. Aspen, the most widely distributed deciduous tree species on Earth, is critical to the survival of the Black Hills’ unique ecotones.

Beaver communities rely on aspen to slow runoff and store water supplies. Aspen shoots are favorite browse for elk and bison.

Paha Sapa ("hills that are black" may have been a reference to burnt timber instead of the accepted, "seen from a distance") hasn’t been a natural forest since 1863 when a nearly Hills-wide fire (possibly set by humans hoping to clear pine), opened grazing for distinct historic ungulates.

Brown and Sieg have noted at least 77 instances of human-induced wildfire on the pre-settlement Hills.

You just can't make up this crap.

Wyoming-based land rapers job creators, Neiman Sawmills has bought off marshaled forces to grease assist LawCo politicos with at least 50,000 simoleans in their efforts to fool voters stem the imagined pine beetle epidemic.
In 2012, the company donated $50,000 cash and an additional $50,000 for in-kind services to the Lawrence County program. Neiman says the company will continue in-kind services, though it's not yet been determined how much for 2013. [KELO teevee]
Or what: get sued into bankruptcy for moving the insects in timber more efficiently with logging trucks along public highways and Forest Service roads to the mill for the last 50+ years? Now 3 mills that i know of, operate a virtual monopoly and lobby heavily in Pierre to pump the handle(s).

Fuck these people...too! The bug is removing one of the biggest threats to the Black Hills water supply by killing one remnant of anthropogenic interference in former bison and wapiti habitat: Ponderosa pine infestation.

Preserve the legacy pine by saving them from the Neimans, clear cut without building new roads especially where doghair chokes aspen, birch or hazelnut, convert it to biodiesel, and burn, baby, burn.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Commutation for Peltier more likely after Obama statements

There is little doubt that South Dakota's attorney general, Marty Jackley, is grasping at the straws propping up the Janklow legacy after the Wounded Knee standoff that made Leonard Peltier a prisoner of war.

The opening of cell doors for some people convicted under federal law came up in an interview with Huffington Post.
President Barack Obama plans to grant clemency to federal offenders "more aggressively" during the remainder of his presidency, he said in a sit-down interview with The Huffington Post on Friday. "If we can get some action done at the federal level, that will make a difference in terms of how, I think, more and more states recognize it doesn't make sense for us to treat nonviolent drug offenses the way we do," Obama said. Commutations grant federal prisoners early release. [excerpt, Obama: I'll Use Clemency Power 'More Aggressively']
Calls of executive clemency for Peltier have been getting louder and a plea for his release sits at the tip of President Obama's pen.
Through 6 former Presidents and President Obama's 1st term in Office, Millions of Individuals world-wide (including Judges, Attorneys, Statesmen & Dignitaries) have rallied in support of Clemency for Wrongly Incarcerated Native American Human Rights/Environmental Rights Activist Leonard Peltier. [petition]
Only one American Indian was pardoned under the Bush regime. ProPublica's Dafna Linzer and Jennifer LaFleur reveal mostly unsurprising results (to me) of a study co-published in the Washington Post. Here is an excerpt from the first of two articles:
Blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president's ultimate act of mercy, according to an analysis of previously unreleased records and related data. Current and former officials at the White House and Justice Department said they were surprised and dismayed by the racial disparities, which persist even when factors such as the type of crime and sentence are considered. Obama officials believed changes in the pardon system could be made by executive order.
A GOP South Dakota legislator, Rep. Steve Hickey of Sioux Falls has given voice to executive clemency for Peltier.

Leonard Peltier should be pardoned this year, Mr. President.

Occupied Rapid City is the setting for a weekend summit of the North American Indigenous Peoples' Caucus.

Photo: Last Real Indians.