Wildlife Advocates for Southwestern Montana
Forty-five (45) years ago on July 14, the Gallatin Wildlife Association came into existence. Yes, we've been around that long. We've faced many challenges along the way fighting to be the voice of wildlife for Southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
This year has been specifically challenging, yet we are excited that we are participating in many ongoing actions across our region on behalf of wildlife. We urge you to stay tune as we plan ahead for events to come as we celebrate our work and people over these many years. We need as many voices as we can get for our future work.
Thank you all:
30 by 30: What does it mean to you?
If you've been following environmental news lately, we're sure you've heard or seen this mantra several times since January 2021!
On January 27, 2021 President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, an order entitled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”. Within that order, President Biden has committed his administration (in Section 216) to a conservation goal of protecting 30 percent of land and 30 percent of ocean waters by 2030. According to Ryan Richards’ article: “Measuring Conservation Progress in North America” published in Center for American Progress, currently 12% of lands are protected, and 26% of ocean waters. Scientist believe that 30% is what’s necessary to fight climate change and protect species from extinction. Protected lands increase resilience to the impacts of climate change and better conserve the biodiversity of our lands.
For more to read follow. Here.
GWA's Facebook page is Going Strong!
Check us out - The link is here!
Thanks to Angelo Roman for managing our Facebook page.
GWA's Podcast on KGVM -
Wildlife and Wilderness - take a listen!
After Christmas of last year (Dec. 30, 2020) Clint Nagel of GWA was fortunate enough to be interviewed by J. Shell, host of the program Wilderness and Wildlife on KGVM, 95.9 on the radio dial. The link is here!
Wilderness and Wildlife, presented by the Gallatin Wildlife Association, features discussions of issues involving the wildlife of southwestern Montana, and the wilderness habitat that makes this area appealing to adventurous people from around the country. You'll hear interviews with wildlife experts and naturalists reporting on species they have studied, which are threatened by the pressures of a rapidly growing populace in the Greater Yellowstone Region.
For other shows presented, simply click the following.
Thanks to John Shellenberger for taking the initiative to establish this mechanism of outreach for GWA.
Montana's Legislative 67th Session:
A Disaster for Wildlife
Fortunately, the 67th session is over. Can we say Amen to that? With very few wins and many losses this 67th session, wildlife, science, and common sense have taken a beating this session. Wildlife management has taken a different course in society, through the state legislature. Politicians have taken this chance to introduce their own preferential bills, many catering to small special interests, bypassing the State's Fish and Game Commission and bypassing Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
You can view some of the bills we've been opposing over these last 3-4 months.
The Status of Bills we've been watching:
Here are some, not all, "bad bills" that will negatively impact wildlife and or our environmenat. For details please see our Action Alert page for responses and letters to some of these bills.
To check status of bills on your own, Please use the following link:
GWA's Response to 2021 State Legislature:
Other Bills and legislation to watch, thanks to Montana Women For:
SJ 18, by Bruce Gillespie, R, SD 9
Will remove Federal oversight of State Grizzly management. Filed by Secretary of State.
SB 267 By Bob Brown, (R ) SD 7 Authorizes reimbursement for wolf trapping and hunting, creating a “BOUNTY” on wolves. Signed by Governor.
SB 337 by Mike Lang, R, SD 17, Will hamper grizzly bear recovery in the Cabinet-Yaak and Bitterroot ecosystems and hinder relocation of grizzly bears by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Signed by Governor.
HB 320, by Steve Gunderson (R ) HD
1 Deliberately confusing bill allowing for sale of public lands. Died in Process.
SB 165, BY Carl Glimm, (R ) SD 2 Reduce water quality controls for subdivisions. Vetoed by Governor.
SB 161, by John Esp, (R) SD 30 Allows for expedited Subdivision review, eliminating some environmental regulations. Signed by Governor.
SB 358, by John Esp would repeal numeric nutrient standards for rivers, threatening water quality. Signed by Governor.
And then there is this Horrendous Bill:
HB 695 would amend MEPA to allow any public agency, when circulating and EA or EIS under MEPA, to require a fee from any person or "association" for providing public comment on the proposals addressed in the EA or EIS. Died in Process.
2021, busier than ever!
Just when you think things couldn't get any busier, we have to throw in there a legislative session in the State House, a session that has no pure good intentions when it comes to wildlife. Consistency, unity, advocacy and passion are necessary to combat the overwhelming threats that seem to be imposed upon our wildlife and their habitat every day. It is much easier to fight the good fight with help of others striving for the same cause, whether you are with an organization or as an individual. We invite you to join the Gallatin Wildlife Association.
Our Actions so far in 2021!
1. This will provide you a scope of the threats that wildlife face as a result of our legislative session in Helena, 2021. GWA has or is in the process of commenting on those listed below and others to come. Rather than list everyone of the bills we have commented on, suffice it to say, there are many. All of the bills listed above, GWA has responded to in one form or another. We're sure there will be more to come!
2. In mid-January, GWA commented on the proposed scoping notice for helicopter skiing operation on the Caribou Targhee National Forest in the Centenninal Mountains.
3. On January 23, GWA commented to the Federal Register on Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
4. In early February. GWA commented during the scoping process to award grant funding through the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to mitigate wildand fire risk from Sourdough Watershed near Bozeman. GWA opposses the process of tree harvesting and thinning as a mechanism to prevent wildfires.
5. GWA wrote a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Assistant Director for Ecological Services, to review the decision to delist the Gray Wolf in concordance of President Biden's Executive Order decision to review previous decisions by the Trump Administration.
6. In concordance with fellow NGOs of southwest Montana, on Feb. 10, GWA signed onto a letter to Acting Secretary of Agriculture to evaluate pending U.S. Forest Service Projects that may conflict with the new adminstration's policy.
7. On February 23, 2021, GWA developed their own 30 x 30 Proposal as suggested by President's Biden Administration and Executive Order 14008. Proposal has been and still is being circulated.
8. On March 13, GWA wrote a letter to the Gallatin County Commissioners urging them to take notice of the amount of open space and wildlife habitat that is being overtaken by develepment and growth expansion.
9. The above March 13 letter tied in nicely with GWA's comments on the newly released Gallatin County's Growth Policy, a policy entitled "Envision Gallatin, Tomorrow Together". GWA wrote extensive comments on this policy.
10. GWA provided extensive comments to Gallatin County on the subject of their new Growth Policy entitled "Envision Gallatin, Tomorrow Together" on March 30, 2021.
11. GWA provided extensive comments to the U.S. Forest Service through the Federal Register as directed by the agency in response to President Biden's Executive Order 14008 on Climate Change.
12. Om April 17, GWA sent comments on the U.S. Forest Service inititive to update their Rangeland Management Directives.
13. GWA provided comments in our Objection over the South Plateau Landscape Treatment Project decision on April 21, 2021. On May 12, we learned that the Objection Process has been halted and that the CGNF was going to issue a new Environmental Assessment.
14. GWA submitted comments on April 29 in regard to the release of the draft Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment.
15. On May 14, an Amicus Brief was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of GWA by the Willametter Law Group of Oregon City, OR in conjunction with the litigation between Cottonwood Law Center vs. Region 1 of the U.S. Forest Service. The Brief was filed based upon new information concerning climate change affects upon forest management.
To those who may ask, What Are We Working on Now?
The answer is simple, everything we can. And that is not easy. More hands would lighten the load. We're approaching the First of May and we received the decisons from the Forest Service of the CGNF Objection process. Needless to say, we were and are sadly disappointed. Now we have to decide what next. We are also working on developing contacts within our community to protect wildlife along the Gallatin Front. Our large job is to follow through on what we started and that is right outside our back door, the Gallatin Front and the Bridgers wildlife corridor.
We're also working on projects big and small, nationally we are trying to bring attention to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and how proper management of wilderness and wildlife can secure the Nation's goal of 30% of our lands and waterways protected by the year 2030. Join us in this effort.
But there is always more to do, more to come. This reminds me of Sen Ted's Kenned.y's speech at the Democratic National Convention of 1980.
"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die."
We have to remember, such as it is in the work of environmental protection. The work continues on, the cause surely endures, and we must have hope for we are not just doing this for ourselves, but for other inhabitants of this planet. I could ramble on, but time, space and your attention, probably say “no”. But let me leave you with a couple of questions. What kind of world do you want? Empty and stark where biodiversity and biological integrity are a thing of the past, or a world full of wonderment and amazement where we can coexist with other lifeforms who have as much purpose here as we do. We at the Gallatin Wildlife Association, say we want one that protects the “wild” in wildlife. If you agree, again please join us.
Clint Nagel, President
Gallatin Wildlife Association