Corridors and Connectivity
This is the third of a six part series. The reader is strongly urged to visit these websites and study what is discussed in these articles in order to make an informed decision.
Part one covered data collection in the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) which was used to create the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) for species and habitat protection. In part two ecosystems and its components were covered These topics create the foundation for corridors and connectivity.
Varying greatly in size, shape, and composition, corridors can be described as routes or land tracts used by migrating animals, land designated for specific purpose such as highways like the US 20 Corridor, or they connect "fragmented" patches of habitat. Corridors are seen as a way to increase connectivity, such as transportation or between patches of fragmentation supposedly caused by humans due to different types of land development. Scientists often call this the "anthropogenic" effect, meaning fragmentation is the result of human influence on nature, which NGOs and scientists describe as disruption and "barriers" for plants and animals to survive. They believe corridors, especially protected corridors, provide an unbroken path of suitable habitat and safe passage, if it weren't for humans disrupting it, and connectivity. Three types of corridors follow.
Biodiversity corridors are areas of vegetation that allow animals to travel from one patch to another, providing shelter and food for different species. Blaming anthropegenic activity, scientists believe that all species become isolated and unable to migrate as intended because of human "barriers". Elk don't care if they cross your property to get where they are going, they and other grand creatures do it all the time. The agenda underway is identifying biodiversity corridors for conservation to restrict or mandate a full ban on all "anthropogenic" activity, thus ensuring species movement between patches, which already exists now. Island Park residents know differently, we have co-existed with all animal species and their movement from before the time of my father.
Wildlife corridors are tracts of land allowing wildlife to migrate for food, shelter, and mating between habitats with migratory paths as an example. Wildlife use biodiversity corridors during their journey for necessary food and shelter. Elk, moose, and other migratory species in Island Park have migrated along these paths for centuries. Who in Island Park has not watched them on their land as they move through?
Riparian corridors have everything to do with water. This includes wetlands, marshes, ponds, streams, creeks, springs and lakes. Water species such as fish and beavers, and plants that thrive in wet environments are all included in these corridors. These corridors naturally intersect with biodiversity and wildlife corridors and are often extended by scientists to include buffers, zones, and land for restricted use. Everything is connected to water.
However, scientists believe anthropogentic activity is destroying natural corridors and corridors should be sewn together for connectivity, with no "disruption" or "barriers". NGOs, scientists, and the government want us to believe they have the knowledge and authority to artificially engineer corridors. Sorry, Mother Nature beat you to it, her corridors already exist naturally, scientists are only artificial engineers and will never surpass Mother Nature. It is disheartening to watch scientists attempt to environmentally engineer land and corridors that are already perfect with roads and private land not disrupting migration paths, the paths are still there.
In 2008, the Western Governor's Association (WGA) participated in this agenda, signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DOI, DOE, and Department of Agriculture to "coordinate and identify key wildlife corridors and crucial wildlife habitats for uniform mapping and recommendations on policy options and tools for "preserving those landscapes". Did Governor Otter contact you for your opinion? How about those other governors making decisions for Idaho?
While the USDA touts the benefits of corridors, there are also studies that have been conducted on the detrimental effects. Because species are crowded into a artificially designed landscape it is often an invitation for invasive species, whether plant or animal, and increased predator behavior. There is also the belief that fragmentation lowers genetic diversity if one herd can't get to another. Elk have been moved around to different locations by scientists for experimentation on their genetic diversity and divergence (mutation). What impact does this have on Elk and the natural order of the environment which is subject to natural laws, not human?
Another aspect to corridors is conservation easements. According to the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition, "Often CE properties are enrolled into programs for introduction of endangered species or development of ‘corridors,’ a initiative itself that can profoundly affect communities, industry and private lands. The introduction of endangered species substantially impacts the productivity of neighboring properties." This is the intention of SWAP, identifying species of greatest concern and habitats needing protection. Something to keep in mind if you are asked about placing your land into a conservation easement. Your property may have already been identified for conservation "value" which might contribute to an effort for corridor conservation.
These corridors, and all their components, lie within an ecological boundary known as an ecosystem. Ecosystem can be defined as "a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment." Scientists have included Island Park in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The GYE boundaries are shown in this map.
The American Wildlands "Corridors for Life" program from 2007, Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC), Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with whom the new road ecologist Renee Seidler is connected, and the USFS focus on creating wildlife corridors for connectivity while the North Pacific LCC, Washington State University, and GNLCC focus on riparian connectivity. Using corridors for connectivity is published in their agendas. The scientists who conducted studies in Island Park even admit that wildlife overpasses are needed for connectivity but have not disclosed that to the public. Island Park residents are provided only information about wildlife vehicle collisions to justify the need for wildlife overpasses while the bigger threat, changing the environmental structure, culture, identity, ownership, and heritage of Island Park, is omitted.
Gary Tabor, founder of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC) and who mingles with all the local initiatives, worked with Va. Rep Donald Beyer (D) on H.R. 6448 (114th): Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act. Although not enacted in 2016, there are plans to reintroduce it again this year. This bill would create a "National Wildlife Corridors System" which would mean federal law for corridor designation, much like a national monument designation. Island Park residents don't want to be a federally designated anything. Also not welcome, a Virginia representative making decisions that would potentially affect Island Park.
The new ITD "road ecologist", Renee Seidler, participated in a migratory study on Pronghorn in Wyoming. While the WCS claims the "U.S. Forest Service established the nation’s first federally designated wildlife corridor" in 2008, the truth is somewhat different.
It was not a declaration of the "first" federally designated corridor, it was a forest plan amendment that merely allowed "continued successful pronghorn migration." Amending the "...Bridger-Teton National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan by designating a Pronghorn Migration Corridor...", it added the following standard, “All projects, activities, and infrastructure authorized in the designated Pronghorn Migration Corridor will be designed, timed and/or located to allow continued successful migration of the pronghorn...", while not constraining "...activities on private land..." within the forest boundary. The report also states, "...activities currently authorized by the Forest Service within the corridor coexist with successful migration..." such as grazing, and concluded that no changes were needed for grazing or infrastructure. So, the Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor, in a NEPA Environmental Assessment phase, casually gave a name to a section of forestland that already existed, the NGOs then exaggerating it into some grand event which didn't exist. There was no congressional act or official designation, no state declaration, no proclamation, nothing.
The BLM is not part of this forest plan amendment. "The amendment just signed does not protect the entire pronghorn migration - it applies only to 45 miles of the migration corridor located on Forest Service lands. The remaining 30 miles of the migration route occur on private lands and areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, BLM." Seasonal protection of the Pronghorn is provided by the BLM but there is no federally designated Pronghorn corridor as the NGOs would have us believe.
Now this exaggerated claim has been stretched to declaring the "Path of the Pronghorn" as the "only federally-designated wildlife migration corridor in the United States". It is misleading and dishonest. Beware, the WCS is watching Craters of the Moon stating Pronghorn are "...restricted by mountains, fences, a highway, and fields of jagged lava from Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve...”. How do those Pronghorn migrate every year in spite of these restrictions and natural landscapes?
Using the Elk migratory path is just the first step, next will be a demand to protect the biodiversity corridor, then a riparian corridor, any corridor will be used to continue sewing them together for control over the land while describing it as connectivity, and for a "seamless" integration into the GYE. They don't care about the Elk, they are only interested in using them to take land for their agenda.
Island Park residents have "connectivity" with their land as my father did, and those before him, crossing different "corridors" that allow us to remain "connected" to our land. We get it, we know the abundance of gifts that are provided. But there is no justification for taking what already is a blended and pristine area, breaking it into ecological categories and corridors, violating state and county sovereignty, then creating plans to alter it. This misrepresents the reality that Island Park is already connected, in every way.
The only disconnection is the one that is fabricated by scientists, NGOs, and the government. It is their imaginary utopia being imposed on Island Park residents, and those poor Elk. The greater plan by scientists and NGOs is putting Island Park into full conservation status without your consent, creating artificial landscape designs and boundaries, convincing you that corridors aren't connected because a road or your house is in the way, telling you connectivity is needed for integration into an ecosystem where it already exists, and destroying our God given right and legal authority as Fremont County residents to control how land is used.
From the Declaration of Independence: It becomes necessary for one people to assume:
"...the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
"...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, governments...deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...". The consent of the governed has not been given for these plans.
Part 4 in this series will discuss connectivity, who is involved, and its implications.
CWCS to SWAP
This is the first of a six part series. The reader is highly encouraged to go to these websites and study what is discussed in these articles in order to make an informed decision.
The Island Park area is targeted by an aggressive agenda that could potentially destroy what we have always known and loved. To fully understand this agenda it is important to understand its history.
In 2001, the U. S. Congress appropriated federal funds to states for wildlife and fish conservation along with the responsibility to develop a comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy. These strategies were intended to lay the foundation for "a coordinated vision and mechanism to enact conservation at a landscape level". Because this statement was so benign it was difficult for local residents or elected officials to understand its true meaning.
In 2005, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) finished the required Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS). The intent was to pass on "our ecological heritage to future generations", and engage others towards this endeavor.
The purpose of this strategy was to identify species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) and habitats for conservation, use legal instruments for conservation methods, and involve the public. "Ecosystem management" was also included. Seen as a "living document", open to ongoing revisions, the strategy also recognized "the need for increased and permanent federal conservation funding...".
Participants in the CWCS included multiple government agencies and UN NGOs. The Wilderness Society (WS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Defenders of Wildlife, NatureServ (a partner of the UN program IUCN), and the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) which attaches itself to the Wilderness Society were all actively involved in the CWCS. Local Island Park working groups and elected representatives were not asked to participate as the strategy had intended.
"Coordination" took place between federal and state government agencies, other states, land trusts, and even Canada with consultation on regional plans. But Idaho citizens were not included. Idaho was broken up into "eco sections", especially because of its "close association to TNC's ecoregional plans". This was just the beginning of blurring state, county, and private land jurisdictional boundaries. America's foundation is state sovereignty and local control through elected representation, which are are being erased.
IDFG also declared, "All wildlife...within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho", to be "...preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed.” The CWCS states it "does not require any person or entity to implement conservation actions", or "dictate how conservation actions should be implemented", but only to "provide information and general direction...in developing conservation plans" with the development of those conservation plans as "discretionary".
In the strategy, species were inventoried, especially the SGCN, habitats for protection were prioritized, and a goal to prevent the spread of invasive species. Although IDFG declared itself as "...not a major land management agency..." it did include partnerships with land management agencies (land trusts groups), plans to "acquire interest in property", assisting private land owners in conservation practices, and reducing impacts from land development.
The CWCS laid the foundation to gather data. This data was needed to later justify the creation of large conservation landscapes, and create wildlife and habitat corridors for connectivity. Partnering with UN NGOs, and with the CWCS, IDFG supported the Heart of the Rockies, Crown of the Continent, Greater Yellowstone, Yellowstone to Yukon, and the High Divide agendas, which all work to place land and species under conservation status, create corridors, and promote connectivity.
Island Park narrowly escaped designation as a national monument. But conservation easements, corridors, and connectivity achieve the same result, loss of private land ownership and land use by Idahoans. In Idaho, the goal of these groups are connecting landscape from Yellowstone, across public and private land, over the Continental Divide, and into the Centennials. IDFG is putting policies into place that will help them achieve these goals.
A Monitoring Oversight Team, which included the TNC, was formed to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the strategy. Its primary purpose was to develop an overall strategy, identify needs, and set priorities. The CWCS was seen as a "living document", open to any changes necessary. A review of the CWCS in 2010 included revision of the SGCN conservation status, identifying any actions needing modification, and strategy revisions.
Recommended actions included encouraging conservation plans with farmers/ranchers, adjusting grazing schedules, reducing residential development, restricting OHV use, allowing naturally occurring fires to burn, identifying linkage zones that provide connectivity between habitats for wide-ranging species along roads and highways, locating and designing highways and roads to reduce and mitigate impacts to wildlife and key habitats, providing corridors of intact, minimally disturbed habitat for wide–ranging species, reducing development on lakes, and designing travel corridors. Establishing corridors for eventual connectivity were the true goals in the CWCS.
At the 10 year revision of the the CWCS in 2015, with all that data gathered, we now have the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). What was a strategy has now become the plan. SWAP will implement the creation of corridors beginning with the Hwy 20 Corridor plan, altering the IP landscape with artificial wildlife bridges and fences that wildlife will be forced to use in their migratory path. Elk were not identified in CWCS as a SGCN, but are now the species being used to justify the need for a corridor because of wildlife-vehicle-collisions (WVC). Highways and roads are the arteries that connect people to their land, the majority of which have been responsible in safely accommodating animals during migration across the roads. Attempts to environmentally engineer wildlife is very concerning. But the truth is, the creation of these corridors along highways and roads are stepping stones towards connectivity of large landscape areas. That was the real intent of the CWCS and now SWAP.
As a neighbor to Yellowstone Park, Island Park has been, is, and will continue to be a targeted area for conservation by UN NGOs. They have a renewed and aggressive goal to convince private landowners to place their land into a conservation easements with partnering land trusts included in the CWCS.
The agenda will not stop with wildlife. Part 2 will explain how biodiversity, ecosystems, and wetlands are used as justification to create corridors of connectivity.
Biodiversity and Ecosystems
This is the second of a six part series. The reader is highly encouraged to go to these websites and study what is discussed in these articles in order to make an informed decision.
After gathering wood in the forest for a warm fire, my father insisted that we not only clean up our mess, but clean up other slash and debris in the area. I did not understand at the time he was teaching us how to take care of the land in Island Park. Another dreaded chore was cutting down tall, overgrown grass around the cabin during the hot August summers. He knew this was a fire load that could potentially fuel a major fire. But we also went on our special trip for huckleberries. No habitat was destroyed, the vegetation is still there, and the huckleberries still grow. Daddy, thank you for teaching me how to care for and respect the land in Island Park.
Coined in 1935, ecosystem is defined as "a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment." Ecosystems have different components of growing, living species.
One component is biodiversity. It is defined as "diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment." Island Park has a multitude of different species which we all love such as wild strawberries, morels, watercress, trees, rainbows, brookies, skunks, porcupines, and the beloved moose and elk. From all indications, each continues to survive in Island Park.
Wetlands are "land that has a wet and spongy soil, as a marsh, swamp, or bog." Island Park has the most beautiful marsh behind Elk Creek. In spite of weekly horseback riding through that marsh there was no long term damage. The marsh still exists.
Riparian refers to the bank of a river or lake and anything living around it such as fish, other water species, and vegetation. Elk and other animal species use it for water and food. We use it to cast a fly for fish that might take a bite or jumping in for a swim, or maybe just look for a pretty rock.
Wildlife, biodiversity, wetlands, and riparian areas are just a few ecosystem components. They are interconnected, dependent on each other for survival, and terms used by NGOs and government agencies to justify their work. Humans are one component not always mentioned. Not seen as a necessary presence in the ecosystem, humans are more often than not considered a destructive force, requiring removal for ecosystem protection. Conservation and removing all human activity are scientists and NGO goals.
There is grave concern that land development is encroaching upon buffer zones, areas that surround a protected area which are intended to shield the core area from man’s activities, thus allowing more space for mammals. Private land ownership is in a precarious position. There are ongoing discussions about controlling land use planning from regional to municipal levels. Seen as part of "ecosystem management", land use planning objectives include conservation, stopping development, zoning and growth controls, and increasing restrictions. How you design your home and land will be dictated to you. This article by ScienceDirect explains it beautifully.
Land, plant, and animal species don't understand boundaries, extending themselves across states, into designated parks such as West Yellowstone, and even across countries. Ecosystems are viewed in the same manner, there are no jurisdictional boundaries. NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy (TNC), believe these ecosystems, components and corridors, have the right to protection regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. These boundary erasures create a regional concept, erasing boundaries between states and counties, the United States and other countries, and create an artificial "conservation boundary". Essentially, the United States is being divided up into regions with artificial boundaries made up of different conservation areas. Here is a map of "conservation planning boundaries" from the Wildlands Network, which includes the current agenda in Island Park, Yellowstone to Yukon and Crown of the Continent.
Part of the proposed US 20 IP Corridor Plan is the placement of artificial overpasses for safer passage during Elk migration, just a first step towards creating artificial corridors for connectivity. Each ecosystem component will be gradually introduced for protection, such as riparian areas. Riparian areas extend into surrounding wetlands and other water sources which will extend boundaries further for conservation. Ecosystem components will eventually be used to place the whole environment into some type of corridor needing protection, either through conservation or designation as a protected site. Remember, your private property will be impacted by this.
All of this falls under the Climate change umbrella. According to NGOs drastic action must be taken to not only conserve areas and protect them from humans, "mitigation" measures must be undertaken to prevent loss from development and climate change. The essence of mitigation is to avoid, minimize, and offset environmental impacts to lands and waters. In 2016 the US Fish and Wildlife Service released their new Mitigation Policy. This policy provides a framework and landscape-scale approach for mitigation with increasing conservation, no net loss of resources or values, and effective linkage for landscape scale conservation strategies. Created by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) always uses science endorsing climate change. However, there is science that does not support the idea of climate change, or even if it exists. According to the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) there are opposing scientific views. Even the former Director of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, now has doubts.
As ecological engineers, scientists believe in giving "point value" to everything, a mathematical formula. Although the Island Park NGO conservation agenda has not yet advanced to creating corridors for other components, the same value points will be assigned to them. An example of this can be found in the Cramer Safety Solutions report used in the US 20 IP Corridor Plan, starting on page 159. For some reason land ownership and recreation receive low point value.
The environment is remarkably skilled at regenerating itself. Our only job is using it and helping it when needed, like cleaning up the floor bed to reduce fuel loads. It is interesting that such a dichotomy exists with NGOs. On one hand their agenda is leaving the environment in its natural state. At the same time they are creating environmental engineering schemes to alter it.
Use of this land, from the time my father was a teenager to present, did not cause any permanent damage requiring protection. Yet the future generation from that era, the current generation, is denied the right to use and enjoy this land as he did, with efforts underway to completely end all use. There is nothing that justifies this. The current wildlife passage project has nothing to do with Elk. This is a systematic agenda to alter where and how we live, and erase sovereign boundaries. It is part of a broader agenda to destroy state sovereignty and our foundation of government upon which America was built.
My bond with Island Park grew from touching her land, hearing her sounds, seeing her beauty, tasting her gifts, and caring for her. Isolation from humans and landscape alteration are heartless and inhumane agendas, advanced by those who have no bond with her.
To all those NGOs and scientists, we have been, and still are, the custodian, guardian, and protector of Island Park and her gifts, way before you were born or formed into little special interest groups, this was not invented by you, and we care for it more responsibly. There has been no long term damage to Island Park from those who have lived here for generations, there is nothing broke that needs fixed. The most comprehensive and destructive land polices were only born when NGOs became involved. Ask any rancher or farmer, they know. The true agenda is pushing us off our land into cities, taking control of our resources, and dictating how, if at all, we can use what is rightfully ours. Island Park is our heritage, our ancestry, we are a native and indigenous people, and we will defend her. There is no bond between you and Island Park such as mine.
Part 3 will discuss corridors.
This website is non-partisan and is solely dedicated to removing the harmful controls placed on our state and nation through Agenda 21 and its associated programs. We invite all Idahoans to join us in this fight for freedom!