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April 19, 2012     The Adams County Record
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Page 16 Wednesday, April 18, 2012 The Adams County Record It has been claimed that wolves reduce wild ungulate numbers reducing competition between livestock and other ungulates, giving a wider range of plant-eating animals a better chance of surviving. Another aspect of this argument is that in areas where there are elk, wolves force the elk to move around and to be on guard. This is good for vegetation, because without the fear of being eaten, elk will ravish one area before moving on. First, a major point: this entire argument rests on the assumption that wolves are the main, or only, way in which elk, moose and deer are: 1) reduced/controlled, and 2) induced to move from place to place. Both are a big stretch except in big park settings where hunting is prohibited. Competition between livestock and other ungulates. No expert I contacted considered this a problem, except for rare instances. Dr. Craig White of Idaho Fish & Game said he knew of a problem, at one time, of elk overgrazing on the Kaibab Forest in Arizona, where it is very dry. But, again, he pointed out that selectively reducin~ elk numbers through hunting t Part 6 -- Forage Competition was an obvious solution. Deer seem to go unmentioned in this argument. Xhey are more browsers than grazers, but I suppose deer could, in theory, overbrowse an area. Moose are occasionally brought into this debate, but seldom in the western U.S. Caribou are mentioned even less often, probably because of their low numbers in the continental U.S. I'm pretty much talking about elk in this debate about wild ungulates and grazing/ forage issues. If anyone wants to take issue with that, or anything else, please do. I don't mean to leave out any legitimate part of the discussion. Dr. White also knew of an instance where elk had overgrazed or overbrowsed (he used the term "hammered") an area in a remote wilderness where fires had created especially choice elk habitat. But even then, he said it was not clear-cut that it was all due to elk. (I'm not sure what other factors, or what other species, could have been involved here. Moose?) In any place that I'm familiar with, the competition goes in the opposite direction in the livestock/ungulate competition equation. If anything, sheep and cattle are more apt to overgraze an area and out-compete elk, especially in riparian zones. And of course those who favor a "natural" ecosystem would not like to see elk numbers reduced so that sheep and cattle can have more grass. More for the herd Going back to a previously-addressed part of this wider issue, a Defenders of Wildlife statement said that wolves eliminating "postreproductive-age individuals from the population results in the availability of more forage for younger, healthier, more reproductively activemembers of the herd: In other words, after the cow elk that are too old to have calves are killed, it leaves more food for the rest of the herd. Again, this assumes there is an elk overpopulation problem and a shortage of forage, which is almost never the case outside of a park environment. I was going to end this with input from Jim Beers, but what he wrote on this really didn't contribute much to the discussion. In case you haven't noticed, Jim is very anti-wolf. He expresses a lot of the feelings that many local folks have, but airing by Dale Fisk feelings is not what I'm trying to do here. I want to point out that this series is not intended to address any issue outside of whether wolves benefit the ecosystem--not whether wolves should or should not be here. I'm exploring this aspect of the issue because the motivation behind the multi-million- dollar process of wolf reintroduction, and all the economic and emotional turmoil that it brings with it, seems to rest on restoring wolves to their natural, missing, beneficial and:' needed function in the ecosystem. If this is a false or misguided premise, then it puts a huge hole in the reasoning behind reintroducing wolves. There are other reasons that people give for bringing wolves back, and I may get to those at some point. I haven't received a lot of feedback on this series of articles. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Too some extent I was hoping to stimulate some debate on the issue, or get people to point out neglected aspects of my coverage. I would really like to hear from other experts, or people with informed opinions on this part of the wolf debate. by Shawn Stanford (Editor's note: After I featured the picture of ]ackley Mountain Lookout and the snippet of information about it, Shawn sent in the following.) There are actually six of those lookouts still in use on the Payette. Those were the original lookout plan developed in the late '20's and many were erected by the CCC's (Civilian Conservation Corp, one of Roosevelt's New Deal programs), called the L-4 style. Those still in use are: Sturgill Pk., Indian Mountain, Horse Mountain, Granite Mountain, Williams Pk. and Pilot Pk. The cab structureis standard, however, they were designed to be put on whatever base was available at the location. Some were built with a timber tower structure (ie. Horse Mtn.), while others were built on a block basement (ie. Indian Mtn) and yet others were constructed with a stone basement under them. Sturgill and Williams Pk were built right on the ground because there was no need to get them higher off the ground to see over the hill they were perched upon, the down side of putting them on the ground, was the lack of a storage area. The next plan I will mention is the R-6 plan, which was developed in the 1960's, and there are a number of them still in use here on the Payette: Lick Cr., Smith Mtn., Hershey Pt. and War Eagle. This is a slightly larger building (by approximately one foot on each side), more modern looking with a flat roof. The only exception to this is Smith Mtn., which is unstaffed, however it houses radio repeater equipment. There are two other styles, both steel. One is Carey Dome, an Aermotor on a 72' steel tower and the only one of its kind left on the forest. The last one prior to this was Peck Mtn. There are only a handful of these left anywhere in the Northwest. [The cab of the Peck Mt. lookout is in the Council Valley See FACING PAGE, iii1~ Adams County Commissioner's Meetin w The delay in getting a woody biomass power plant under way in the County has allowed the County to release $25,000 from their planning grant to be used by Council School District 13 to extend their biomass heat- ing system to the Shop Building. Council citizens have raised over $46,000 to revamp the Shop Building, and now there will be funds available to add the new heating sys- tem. The funds had to be ing woody biomass, so this choice helped further Council's plans to reacti- vate vocational classes at the school. Four Council High School students requested permission to remove graffiti from bridges along Hornet Creek Road as part of their Senior project. Unless spring high water delays the project, the students were encouraged to proceed with their plans. BLM Representative Alan Tarter met with the April 9 out details for Wilsonthe constructiofl season is Road right of way above at those higher altitudes Goodrich Creek Bridge.and how he wants to Tarter emphasized how begin scheduling the important it was to give the road construction when EPA timely informationthe ground has dried so they can complete the out. The Commissioners Environmental Impact ended the seasonal snow Study for the project,plowing agreement for the FEMA requires the Study Pine Ridge area for this before construction can year saying that warmer begin, but the Department weather should melt off of Homeland Security has any- late snowfall this delayed completing their Spring. part of the study. Road Sheriff Rich Green and Bridge Supervisor will present the County Tom Glenn reminded theagreement with Adams used for a project involv- Commissioners to work Commissioners how short which covers inmate care to the Commissioners at their next meeting. Jailer Steve Ogden reported that fifteen State of Idaho prisoners will be in the jail later this week. The State has increased their use of the county jail since the medical costs have been assumed by the County. The County is now advertising for an appointed Treasurer's position, and the final selection will be made at a Special Commissioner County Health Center, Meeting scheduled for by Lee Buy 10:00 am, Monday, April 30, 2012. Treasurer Connie Kesler requested funds to use in modifying the customer service counter to handle a terminal so electronic receipts can be available at the window. County Extension Education Supervisor Shanna Smith received $8,000 in funding for the 2012 Adams County Fair. She reported that the 4-H Pavilion should be completed in time for this year's Fair. Special business ser ies aeailable laf The Adams CennQ Kecerd... i B&W Copies $.15 i each Send and receive faxes $1.00 per page Design Services Low Volume Scanning Assist with e-mail File uploads and downloads Call fer de/ails and F[SK CompleW systems, new and used Specializing in laptop repair and service Laptop LCD and Motherboard replacement Networking wireless and conventional Virus and spyware removal, data r overy Larry Hsk 208-253-6073 lnfisk@c web.net 9 Years of Quality Dental Care for the Community We Live In Evr~ich D D S ik:::: ~:,~,~-~''~-'" -c ,, ~;~