The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREP) has been reintroduced by a New York representative for the seventh time in Congress, and has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee. This bill, H.R. 1321, is another attempt at taking more land away from Idaho citizens for use and designating it as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, biological connecting corridors, and for other purposes. Claiming that "wildlife treasures of the Northern Rockies are of international significance", the standard environmental group mantra is given that "fragmentation" of wildlife occurs due to roads, harvesting, and mining, all horse pucky. No international significance exists when it comes to Idaho land, it belongs to us.
In the bill text, land is divided up into five ecosystems but the bill has nothing to do with ecosystem protection, it is about taking land. Each ecosystem includes Idaho national forests, and all are impacted. Affected areas incorporate land and creeks into currently existing designated wilderness areas and national forests, designate new wilderness areas into what is called the "National Wilderness Preservation System", take land for "biological connecting corridors", all of the areas being too exhaustive to list here. Also defined is "no new road construction or reconstruction, or timber harvest (except firewood gathering) shall be allowed in the lands". Everyone should take the time to see how their own particular area would be affected.
One non-governmental organization (NGO) that has put much effort into increasing federally protected land is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), which covers the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Greater Salmon/Selway Ecosystem, both listed in the bill. GYC is out of Bozeman, Montana, but is also registered in Idaho. Kathy Rinaldi is the Idaho Conservation Coordinator for GYC, and Allison Michalski is the Idaho Conservation Associate. Their focus is "protecting" lands in Idaho from eastern Idaho through the Salmon area. Areas they focus on are included in the bill such as the Custer Gallatin National Forest, and water protection.
In the first 10/1/16-9/30/17' tax return posted below, with a net balance of 10,813,967 dollars, the GYC spent $118,957 in "direct lobbying" to influence a legislative body. $18,788 was spent on "grassroots" lobbying, which is an indirect way of influencing legislative bodies through their members. Another fact found in their tax return is the donation of $27,500 to the National Wildlife Federation, Idaho being an affiliate, for a "grazing allotment buyout", land that will most likely never be used again.
GYC proudly boasts about convincing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to protect Grizzly habitat while partnering with them on other issues, shutting down sheep grazing, and again buying out grazing allotments. Is it no wonder that citizens have no voice on land use when NGOs such as GYC and others have the pocketbook and relationships to get what they want? Giving money to the USFS (pg 30) is just one way as they also partner with Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG), having even been on the "core team" for the development of the State Wildlife Action Plan (Rinaldi, page xii).
For an unknown reason, other than a request for an extension on tax filing, the GYC website lists a different tax form for the same year. In this form, lobbying expenses for the same period came to $116,300 in a payment made to a Washington D.C. lobbying firm, Forbes-Tate Partners. Given the drive for protecting land, did the GYC lobbyist have anything to do with the reintroduction of NREP or the recently signed S. 47?
In the tax forms, GYC specifically states one accomplishment as "permanently protecting Yellowstone's northern gateway from two proposed gold mines", that was in 2017. GYC took credit for the passage of the 2019 Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act that was included in S. 47. President Trump just signed this bill, effectively endorsing the GYC goal of shutting down all gold mining activity north of Yellowstone Park. Do they hold the same lobbying power to take thousands of acres of land for wilderness through NREP? Other accomplishments listed in the tax form, "conserving public lands...in the Gallatin Range...and...High Divide", and new protections on BLM lands. Water is another focus for "permanent" protection. All of these are addressed in the NREP bill.
As a partner with Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), which is a IUCN member and supports IUCN objectives for protecting large areas for conservation, GYC is in charge of implementing those IUCN objectives within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Salmon-Selway Ecosystem.
Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson are both members of the Congressional Western Conference (CWC), although Rep. Simpson is known for his alignment with NGOs and support for land grab legislation. CWC has a multitude of issues that it covers, one of which is federal land management, claiming too much land is controlled by the federal government and the "checkerboard" of land ownership should be streamlined. Yet at the same time, this group applauded the passage of S.47, which establishes more national monuments, designates more wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers, restores the Land and Water Conservation Fund which is used for land purchases by the federal government, and provides money to NGOs for continuation of their agenda. Taking more land is being justified by increased access to public land use "unless specifically designated otherwise". Should the CWC be trusted to oppose NREP, or have GYC lobbyists and others successfully infiltrated, or bought, the caucus? NGOs have become so financially powerful they are now buying logging industries.
From all accounts, it is clear that the federal government has only one intention in mind, take more land and restrict use, leaving citizens they represent out, instead building and funding NGO partnerships to accomplish their goals. NREP is just another example of how we are being robbed of our land. Let your representatives, CWC, and the House Committee on Natural Resources know that you oppose more land being taken from us and their support of NGO agendas.
In addition to reinstating large conservation cooperatives (LCC) after revoking them through his Secretarial Order 3349, Sec. Zinke now has grand plans to reorganize the Department of Interior (DOI) which will further erode state sovereignty.
The essence of reorganizing is redrawing "regional" boundaries and moving employees out of D.C. into those regions for closer "collaboration" with states for streamlining DOI efficiency. There have been some accusations that he is gutting the DOI.
DOI regional boundaries as of December 22, 2017 are outlined in the map below.
Sec. Zinke initially reorganized departmental regions based on watersheds and ecosystems, reducing 40 regions down to 13. The first revised regional map based on that concept is below. Montana had specific issues with the state being cut in half by these boundaries.
The Western Governors Association (WGA) objected to the watershed, ecosystem idea for boundaries, writing a letter to him requesting regional boundaries were based instead on state boundaries. Given one of his initial reasoning for reorganization was partly based on working more closely with states, it is ironic that he failed in the first step to create these boundaries with WGA involvement. What does that tell you? WGA also commended him on "...your addition of the goal of improving coordination among federal, state and local agencies...". That is an interesting statement as federal law has specific coordination requirements for local governments which is different from federal and state coordination. Multiple other associations joined with the WGA and signed the letter to Zinke. Oddly enough, as a result, Sec. Zinke decided to refine his regional boundaries more closely along state lines as seen below. The WGA was "gratified" with the new map.
Many questions have arisen with the new DOI plan. Sec. Zinke's plan is to assign an Interior Regional Director (IRD) in each region, whose responsibility will include coordination of missions and administrative functions between bureaus within the region. While special consultation with Tribes is mentioned, there is no mention of consultation with local governments or citizens.
Drawing boundaries along watersheds was the original intent, however the new state boundary alignment does not necessarily change that intent, "...new regional watershed-based boundaries are often adjusted to line up with the nearest state boundaries."
As Sec. Zinke explains in this video, his thoughts about placing land into federal protection as did Theodore Roosevelt, and John Wesley Powell's notion of land preservation and conservation, should give a clear picture of what he intends to do. Sec. Zinke adds to this with his intent to create wildlife corridors which would also cross state boundaries.
The problem with reorganizing along ecosystems and watersheds is that there is no defined boundary between federal, state, and private land. Unlike a specific tree line or boundary that can be drawn on land as it is now, an ecosystem often has no clear boundaries due to it flowing into another ecosystem, therefore an ecosystem must be managed as it has an ever flowing connection with everything. As seen in the map below, there is no clearly defined boundary between the ecosystem elements and watersheds, they are continuous and connected. Disrupting one part affects the rest. Ecotone is a term used to describe transitions between different ecosystems but is not necessarily a boundary.
According to environmentalists, no boundaries exist in landscapes because of connectivity, and boundaries such as county and state lines that define us become irrelevant. That is essentially what Sec. Zinke is planning, creating large regional ecosystems that includes connectivity between them, providing ecosystem management, and crossing over all jurisdictional boundaries. If an ecosystem needs restoration, flowing into another over state or private land, how will Sec. Zinke manage that? If consulting and collaborating with states, it seems that the IRD will possibly need to interfere with state sovereignty for ecosystem restoration and protection.
As noted in Secretarial Order 3362, Sec. Zinke wants to "...harmonize State fish and game management and Federal land management of big game winter range and corridors.", and establish "...a clear direction forward with each State...". He wants to plant federal agents in each state to help bind us further together with the federal government. Where did he formulate the idea that the DOI determines the forward direction of our state? Our Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves.
As a International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) member, Sec. Zinke will most likely bind us to their notion of ecosystems and managing them through DOI agencies. The IUCN already has a Red List of Ecosystems with categories and criteria for micromanagement on restoration and protection.
As yet, this reorganization has not been approved by Congress. If you would like to provide feedback on this reorganization, you can contact the DOI here. Let Sec. Zinke know that we have sovereignty and do not want the federal government coming to our state for harmonization between state and federal policies, and that Idahoans will decide how our land is managed.
It is understood that all conservation initiatives and non-governmental organizations (NGO) are attached to Washington D.C., they hob nob together, make their devious plans in partnership, and leave us out.
With the exposure of activity behind the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GNLCC), Yellowstone 2 Yukon (Y2Y), High Divide (HD), Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), and others behind their conservation and connectivity agenda, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke has now incorporated them into the DOI workforce. Created by DOI Secretarial Order 3289 and implemented by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), these initiatives partner through the GNLCC, and it is a distinct probability that the DOI was advised of this exposure and investigated it. What better way to solve this exposure problem than to wave a magic wand and create a Secretarial Order (SO) that gives the GNLCC de facto authority to continue operating. Even the Greater Yellowstone Coalition understands this.
On February 9, 2018, while attending the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sec. Zinke announced his SO 3362, which is meant to "...improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer."..."...expand opportunities for big-game hunting by improving priority habitats...", foster "...collaboration with states and private landowners and...ensure that robust big game populations continue to exist."...and "...help establish better migration corridors...". What a bunch of crock. In spite of all the lauding of his accomplishments on the DOI site, Sec. Zinke just pulverized anything positive for Idahoans with this SO. This SO isn't about access to hunting, it is about putting land into conservation which leads to control over land use.
As "partners", the DOI agencies USFWS and National Park Service (NPS) give conservation initiatives authority in the GNLCC. Primary objectives of the GNLCC are conservation of large landscapes and creation of corridors for connectivity. Essentially, Zinke just gave full authority to the GNLCC to continue in spite of the fact he revoked LCCs with SO 3349, which were created by SO 3289, and then advanced with SO 3330. SO 3362 essentially reinstates and expands what he just revoked as a directive that still has no legislative authority.
There are several key sections of the SO 3362 that require scrutiny.
Sec. 1 Purpose. This Order directs appropriate bureaus within the Department of the Interior (Department) to work in close partnership with the states of...Idaho...to enhance and improve the quality of...migration corridor habitat on Federal lands...that recognizes state authority to conserve and manage big-game species and respects private property rights.
Our Republic does not include federal partnerships with states, states are sovereign. Nowhere does this SO state that citizens or local governments are involved in these decisions, or those who would be the most impacted by land use changes. Private property is a right and protected by the Fifth Amendment and Idaho law, it is not something that can just be "respected" by a federal agency. If the DOI truly recognizes state authority then why the "partnering"?
Page two states, "...it is crucial that the Department take action to harmonize State fish and game management and Federal land management of big-game winter range and corridors...if landowners are interested and willing, conservation may occur through voluntary agreements."
Translated this means federal policy will become state policy, "harmonize". As a DOI program, the GNLCC is also being used to incorporate their objectives into State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP), and while landowners may be duped into "voluntary" agreements for conservation, initiatives work to get those conservation land use policies into local comprehensive plans, which will eventually become mandatory.
3c "Within 180 days, develop a proposed categorical exclusion for proposed projects that utilize common practices solely intended to enhance or restore habitat for species such as sage grouse and/or mule deer...". This essentially gives authority to maneuver around NEPA requirements, one of which is public participation.
Sec. 4.a.(1) ...identify an individual to serve as the “Coordinator” for the Department. The Coordinator will work closely with appropriate States, Federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and/or associations to identify active programs focused on...migration corridors.
Again there is no citizen or local government involvement and the "and/or associations" is clearly referencing the DOI created GNLCC. This SO cements their authority and now drags in state agencies whose role up to this time has been fairly hidden in the GNLCC. Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) will more than likely be playing a larger role in the federal agenda for placing land into conservation.
4.b.(1) With respect to activities at the State level...identify one person...to serve as the Liaison...will schedule a meeting with the respective State fish and wildlife agency...work in close partnership with the State on...migration corridor conservation.
Take note of that "conservation" wording. This is a Freudian slip by Zinke, the SO is really targeting land conservation, not improving big game hunting. IDFG already has a wildlife conservation program, one for "landowners", and a Habitat Improvement Program for private land owners. Now a federal "Liaison" will be interfering in these state programs.
4.b.(4) Assess State wildlife agency data regarding wildlife migrations early in the planning process for land use plans and significant project-level actions that bureaus develop.... As previously stated, the goal will be harmonizing federal planning with state planning, we will be living under federal policy "that bureaus develop".
4.b.5(iii) working cooperatively with private landowners and State highway departments to achieve permissive fencing measures, including potentially modifying (via smooth wire), removing (if no longer necessary), or seasonally adapting (seasonal lay down) fencing if proven to impede movement of big game through migration corridors;
Zinke just gave the GNLCC and conservation initiatives the authority to continue their camaraderie with the Idaho Transportation Department for integration of wildlife overpasses and fencing, forcing wildlife into different migratory paths, both which lead to the creation of a wildlife corridor and ultimate land use control.
4.b.5(iv) avoiding development in the most crucial winter range or migration corridors during sensitive seasons;
4.b.5(v) minimizing development that would fragment winter range and primary migration corridors;.
There it is, the truth, the goal is restricting use or banning land development within or adjacent to a migratory corridor.
4.d.(3) Consult with State wildlife agencies and bureaus to ensure land use plans are consistent...to one another along the entire wildlife corridor...where...migration corridors span jurisdictional boundaries.
Zinke is referring to local comprehensive or land use plans, and jurisdictional boundaries includes private property. It is critical that citizens engage with elected officials on comprehensive plans, ensuring no reference is made to corridor protection or conservation. If local land use plans do not reference these then federal policy for corridors and conservation will be inconsistent with local policy and the feds will have more difficulty proceeding with conservation policies until consistency is reached. Coordination is in federal law, written into USFS, BLM, and FHA (23 CFR 774.5) laws, that coordination shall occur between the federal and local governments to ensure consistency between land use policies. It is not consulting, cooperating, or collaborating because coordination puts the local government on an equal footing with the feds, not subordinate. The feds do not like this law, they would like to just mow over local governments and us with their plans, without coordination, The 10th Amendment guarantees this protection for states and its citizens and recently the Idaho Senate addressed the coordination requirement in SJM103.
4.b.5(i) Habitat management goals and associated actions as they are associated with big game winter range and migration corridors;
This statement references the creation of other corridors which can include riparian, biodiversity, or ecosystems, potentially expanding federal control over land use because these habitat types extend from public land into state and private land. An example is his reference to "sagebrush ecosystems...other ecotypes...and sagebrush landscapes". Migration corridors require other types of corridors that support wildlife. A habitat management example is the Sage Grouse, of which sage brush protection was needed for its habitat. Translated, "Habitat Management" means conservation or protection. Not only will SWAP plans be used as they identify species and habitat of greatest conservation need, but Zinke also plans to use the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) as a mapping tool for land use (4.c.).
The subject of the SO is "Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors". In that title where does it indicate the SO will "...expand opportunities for big-game hunting by improving priority habitats...". Priority habitats are those typically protected for a game species as in the Sage Grouse example. What is meant by "improved" priority habitats? Corralling wildlife with fencing and forcing them into different migratory paths? Moving all humans and development out of the way? Creating pseudo corridors that already exist and which already cross private property without any problems?
The Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network (LCCN), of which the GNLCC is a member, is actively involved with the UN NGO, International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), bringing IUCN ideology back to us. Gary Tabor is a partner with the GNLCC through his Center For Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC) and works as Specialist Group Leader for the IUCN. Rob Ament is also a IUCN member and contributes IUCN ideology to the GNLCC.
Below are two short videos from the IUCN website, part of a series of modules on Protected Area Law (PAL). In the first video you will find the similarities (voluntary conservation, creating corridors, protect migration routes) between the SO and how it advances IUCN objectives for connectivity. When referencing protected areas, an example is the agenda currently underway to connect Island Park to Yellowstone National Park for an extension of protected land, using wildlife overpasses as the basis for a corridor. Sec. Zinke is using an SO to achieve IUCN objectives. And why wouldn't he, the DOI and USFWS partner with the IUCN, gives your tax dollar to them, while assisting with the implementation of Agenda 21.
Starting at minute marker 5:22 is Yellowstone 2 Yukon promoting IUCN ideology for connectivity.
This West Is Our West has an excellent article, written by Clifford C. Nichols, Is Zinke 'Migration Corridors' order the Endangered Species Act on Steroids? His article brings out some other pertinent points on the SO.
Sec. Zinke isn't fooling anyone. His goal is conservation and control over land use. It is appalling that all of this activity is hidden from us, stripping us of our "consent of the governed" role. Without any federal law he is sanctioning an expanded, behind the scenes, directive that further erodes our right to local representation and state sovereignty. Sec. Zinke, Idahoans have not given consent to your SO 3362.
There has been, and what is now a very aggressive agenda, to take and control Idaho land. Idahoans may not realize the magnitude of individuals and organizations involved so this is an overview of some, but not all, to provide an understanding of the problem, and its depth. These organizations and individuals work in harmony with each other and some individuals traverse between groups providing direction on conservation issues. Currently, land in between protected areas is highly targeted for conservation. This can only be described as a coup d'état.
Western Governor's Association (WGA)
The WGA created Resolution 07-01 in 2007, Protecting Wildlife Migration Corridors and Crucial Wildlife Habitat in the West, "to strengthen the protection of wildlife migration corridors and crucial wildlife habitat in the west.". The Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) was created using GIS tools, then transferred to the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). Here is the result of their work, the Chat map.
Goal: Data Collection, creation of corridors, and conservation.
Western Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA)
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA)
WAFWA represents "Western Fish & Wildlife Agencies", including Canada. WAFWA is an "affiliate" of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), however, IDFG is listed as a AFWA member with 13 employees on various committees. IDFG Director, Virgil Moore, was named AFWA President this year. AFWA, based in Washington D.C., "represents state agencies" on capital hill while its members include other countries, federal agencies, and UN NGOs (NAS, TNC, SCI).
Goal: Conservation of species, enacting federal legislation to enforce conservation.
Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP)
The BRP, created in 2014 by Bass Pro shop founder John Morris and former Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal, "represents the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen's groups, and state fish and wildlife agencies." The BRP includes 26 business and conservation leaders, and is a conglomerate of lobbyists succeeding in in introducing legislation, H.R. 5650, Recovering America's Wildlife Act of 2016 which requests 1.3 billion dollars for conservation. One goal is creating policy options to fund "conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species" via state SWAP plans and restructuring state fish and wildlife agencies. (BRP was renamed "Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife"-AAFW).
Goal: Raise funds through corporations to support conservation efforts in states and through federal legislation, possibly influence how fish & wildlife agencies are structured, rather than keeping it as a state decision.
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC)
Created by the Department of Interior and administered by USFWS, these are partnerships between NGOs, federal and state government agencies, universities, and conservation initiatives to collect data on species, habitat, and land which will then be evaluated for conservation through creation of corridors for connectivity, and other measures.
Goal: Identifying species and habitat for corridors which can be used to place large tracts of land into conservation for connectivity to other protected areas, convincing private land owners to place their land into conservation easements, buying land through NGOs and the federal government, erasing jurisdictional boundaries between counties, states, and countries, and creating a regional environmental governance.
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP)
The LILP, UN NGO, integrates theory and practice for public policy decisions on land use. They were responsible for the idea to bring all conservationists together in one group, "a collective voice for advancing the theory and practice of large landscape conservation", called the Network for Large Landscape Conservation, then rebranded as the Network for Landscape Conservation. They also brought in LCCs, USFS, USGS, BLM and other federal agencies to enhance funding through grants. The LILP believes in regionalism, that jurisdictional boundaries, and your representation through elected officials, are irrelevant. LILP focuses on building a large landscape community of conservation practice. Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is another organization that tries to influence the use of private property and whom "policy makers" listen to, rather than you.
Goal: Increase efforts to put all land into conservation for protection and connectivity, research land policy programs for public officials and others about the use of land, land regulation, and property rights, having a "more active role in the conversations that shape public policy decisions.", which also involves land trusts.
Network for Landscape Conservation (NLC)
The NLC includes individuals working across geographies, regardless of political boundaries, to conserve connected, ecological systems by partnering with multiple organizations and the federal government.
Goal: Conserving land for connectivity.
Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy (CNREP)
CNREP is "known for their work in public lands policy, water law and policy, land-use planning, and cross-boundary resource management.", including large landscape conservation strategic frameworks for policy and action.
Goal: Influence public policy on land issues.
Conservation Science Partners (CSP)
Research scientists in applied conservation science, collecting and developing new data for conservation practitioners, all to support conservation goals. Their partners include the federal government and several other sources cited in this article.
Goal: Producing science that supports all forms of conservation and organization objectives.
Conservation Biology Institute (CBI)
CBI conducts conservation research and develops conservation tools, such as Data Basin, for collecting data that assists conservation agendas, and regional planning assessments to support conservation projects globally. Data collection includes protected areas, conservation easements, and high conservation value areas. Partners include foundations, the federal government, corporations, and universities. The DOI funded CBI to "assist in the strategic development and expansion of scientific information, analysis and support tools to benefit the LCC network and facilitate landscape conservation design." This tool is interoperable between LCCs. Core Data Basin information is free and also serves the HORI which is a land trust partnership for placement of private land into conservation.
Goal: Create tools for conservation, provide a data center where all conservation data can be stored and accessible to conservation groups and individuals for promotion of conservation.
HD, HOR, Y2Y, GYC, COC, FW, TNC, WS, HFLP, WCS, DOW, NWF
All of these "initiatives" and NGOs, many being UN NGOs, have common goals, putting as much private land as possible into conservation easements, buying private land to retain or sell to the government as a conservation easement, declaring areas needing protection for species or habitats, identifying corridors between protected land for eventual linkage and connectivity, engaging as many private land owners as possible to use conservation practices on their land, indoctrinating the young on believing their conservation is the only answer, creating conservation by design on land, expanding boundaries of already existing protected land such as national parks, and engaging county commissioners to integrate restrictive land use regulations into comprehensive plans. TNC is even bringing in corporations to fund their goals, starting with UN business partner J.P. Morgan. There are multiple overlaps of individuals between these groups with some players being prominent leaders such as Gary Tabor, Rob Ament, Michael Whitfield, Joel Berger, and Matthew McKinney.
Goal: Put all land into some form of conservation status with restrictive regulations on how land is used, expand protected land boundaries so wildlife has room to roam, procure as much land as possible.
USFWS, USFS, BLM, NPS, NRCS, USDA
The federal government partners with initiatives, organizations, and NGOs to accomplish conservation goals and regionalism. Each agency has a variety of programs for conservation. It is your tax dollar being used to fund these conservation groups. Eventually, all recreation and how you recreate will be "managed" for conservation and protection, as H.R. 3400, Sec. 305 describes.
Goal: Use taxpayer dollars to assist groups to achieve their goals of conservation across county, state, and country jurisdictional boundaries while failing to represent Americans as public servants through elected officials, or engage them with transparency.
Western Transportation Institute (WTI)
WTI conducts research on roads to assist with identifying core habitats, dispersal corridors, restoring connectivity, and highway mitigation methods, under the guise of road ecology.
Goal: Determine how your roads should be built and managed simultaneously with conservation groups.
Aside from these groups taking your tax dollar to support their objectives, there are also wealthy foundations that contribute to the effort. Wilburforce, Brainerd, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Turner (UN partner) are just a few foundations that fork over money for conservation groups.
Goal: Financially assist NGOs and initiatives in conservation objectives.
What is interesting about these groups is there are legal requirements not being followed. This Legal Framework For Cooperative Conservation document outlines some legal requirements. There are specific requirements for public involvement but these groups create their own support groups with the same ideology, then proclaim them as public involvement. Public engagement, those individuals who live in a particular area, are never involved while engagement with state and federal agencies are hidden as well. Specific requirements for open and transparent disclosure are also required, but this rarely happens. As stated in the document, "These resources belong to the public", not the conservation groups. But that is what they believe, they own the land, it is theirs to manipulate, and hide what they are doing.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) is intended "to ensure that agency officials make policy decisions in open, deliberative processes rather than behind closed doors with undue influence by select stakeholders". However, this is exactly what has been happening, activity and decisions are being made with select groups and hidden from the public. In order to delegate authority to new entities, "Congress must specify the general policies under which the group operates and the restrictions limiting the group’s authority." LCCs, initiatives, and NGOs operate without any congressional policy, create their own policies while projecting an image of authority, are self directed with no oversight, while the public is not informed about the depth of involvement by so many groups, their intention to collect and share data for decisions on how we will live or use our land, or that the federal government is funding it with our tax dollar. Had we been informed would we agree to this egregious agenda? Would there be agreement to the end goal of placing the majority of Idaho into conservation with restricted use?
Our Constitution is based on separation of powers. Therefore, federal "agencies may not “subdelegate” this authority to outside parties." But the federal and state agencies are subdelegating decisions to these conservation groups, allowing them to integrate their objectives into governmental decisions, and influencing our elected officials. Even worse, now there is a growing movement towards private sector management of our public land, which Secretary Zinke supports and is implementing with a recreation advisory committee. Is this a sub-delegation of our public land to outside interests? Will there be corporate influence over how the land is used which overrides the public whose tax dollars pay for public land use?
There is also the audacity of the USFS being allowed to subjugate private land to public use for access to public land. The Fifth amendment clearly states, "Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."
Matthew McKinney (CNREP), believes in regionalism, and has his own ideas about land, co-authoring an article, "The Emerging Role of Network Governance in Large Landscape Conservation". He and his coauthor claim, "No single entity has the authority to address these types of cross-boundary issues, resulting in gaps in governance and a corresponding need to create formal and informal ways work more effectively across administrative boundaries, land ownerships, and political jurisdictions." Network governance is intended to "supplement", not replace other forms of governance. Supplement is a broad term but most likely it is meant to be an insertion of his and other groups ideology for conservation and regionalism. By his own admission, "civic entrepreneurs from the public and private sectors, NGOs, and universities have catalyzed a variety of innovative governance arrangements". Has he ever heard of the Constitution, the foundation of which cannot be exchanged for other "governance arrangements? Mr. McKinney has written about "Global Guidance on Transboundary Conservation" for the IUCN and how to initiate it.
As a Global Transboundary Conservation Network member, and World Commission on Protected Areas ( WCPA) member, Mr. McKinney has deep ties with the UN, especially regarding protected areas, bringing UN ideology into decisions regarding Idaho through his many connections. All of his activities are moving towards the UN Environmental Governance strategy, which the University of Montana might teach in their model UN program where Mr. McKinney works.
This CSP graphic gives a visual picture of just a few who are involved in controlling our land use.
The majority of these groups and individuals are scientists, technocrats, implementing their agenda via technocracy, a government or social system that is controlled or influenced by experts in science or technology, or control of society or industry by an elite of technical experts. Most associate with the UN and are actively implementing Agenda 2030 SD target Goals 15 and 17.17.
Federal and state employees are public servants, hired to represent Idahoans through laws. Our Senators and Representatives are elected to represent our state, and us. But, the truth is, representation has been entrusted to other states, countries, corporations, organizations, and NGOs. Unless we come together, organize direct opposition to them, land use for "future generations" will be living with these individuals and groups deciding how land is used. We cannot let them continue taking control of Idaho land.
One cannot escape the fact that NGOs, landscape initiatives, and other individuals are embedded with federal government agencies such as the US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These groups also have powerful lobbying within both the state and federal government with large amounts of money backing their efforts. Their voice has succeeded in overpowering citizen's voices.
Over the last several years these same groups have been studying the State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP). The SWAP was created by each state and although they vary in focus the primary objective is identifying species and habitat of greatest conservation need (SGCN), threats to them, and proposing conservation plans that will be monitored for effectiveness. SWAP is seen as a "living" document that can be updated and revised at regular intervals depending on how the plan is working. These groups are scrutinizing those objectives to intervene during revisions.
In 2012, the Department of Environmental Science & Policy, University of California, literally scoured 49 SWAP plans in the U.S., evaluating the language and content for keywords such as wildlife or habitat connectivity and linkage, and possible references towards incorporating these concepts into large-scale conservation plans. Corridors and movement were two other keywords that were counted. These groups see the SWAP as nothing more than an opportunity for a single framework, a national data set that evaluates and compares conservation planning efforts with no jurisdictional lines between or within states, only conformity with standards they want so desperately to define and control. Idaho would no longer be creating standards for Idaho, or standards that Idahoans want.
Because some SWAP plans omitted this type of language it was seen as a hindrance to "...coordinated nationwide planning...". Eleven plans succeeded in meeting their criteria for what they consider best practices.
This study was done for the purpose of identifying how SWAP plans could be revised to include more language and focus on the goals for connectivity and integration of what they consider are best practices, stating, "...increasing the emphasis on wildlife linkages, using common language, and incorporating these best practices can directly improve subsequent iterations of SWAP...". Since the Idaho SWAP is a "living" document with periodic monitoring for revisions these groups and lobbyists will be ready to make their case for the insertion of connectivity and linkage language into the plan. Since they are already tied into these agencies it shouldn't be very hard to accomplish.
The Gary Tabor organization, Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network (LCCN), used the Gulf states SWAP to integrate their agenda, "...working to ensure that they play a foundational role in the GCPO’s Landscape Conservation Design (a.k.a. Conservation Blueprint). To that end the GCPO LCC has invited SWAP leaders to actively participate in the design process..." and "...will help ensure that the work the GCPO LCC does is value-added by integrating States’ plans across administrative boundaries...". The Great Lakes was another target. LCCN is literally drooling over SWAP plans for their pernicious agenda. The Greater Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GNLCC), a federal program that coordinates these groups, also sees SWAP as "The first step towards integrating landscape efforts", along with the Defenders of Wildlife.
This is how the game is played, study the prey, find an opening, then manipulate it for advantages in self-serving agendas. Idaho citizens will not have a say in this in spite of their right to representation. But Idaho Statute, Title 36 36-2405(5) states "The governor’s office of species conservation may petition the responsible public agencies to initiate rulemaking to facilitate the implementation of the approved management plan." and (7) "Nothing in this act shall be interpreted as granting the department of fish and game with new or additional authority." Since Governor Otter is part of the Western Governors' Association (WGA) that partners with the federal government for this conservation agenda, it is highly unlikely rulemaking will be requested. Citizen input for SWAP was not pursued aggressively as with scientists, NGOs, and other outside groups. A public hearing was held in Boise in January, 2016, a Wednesday and Thursday, when people are working, in the dead of winter. Idaho citizens should have first priority for input with these other groups taking a subordinate role.
Per Idaho statute there is no authority to enforce SWAP and in spite of getting connectivity or linkage language into the SWAP there is no authority to force it on Idaho citizens. Individuals employed by NGOs and other initiatives work full time implementing their agenda while Idahoans work to earn a living, making it very difficult to find the time needed to oppose this agenda. But it must be done, now.
Technocracy and Land Control
Technocracy is "a system of governance where decision-makers are selected on the basis of technological knowledge. Scientists, engineers, technologists, or experts in any field, would compose the governing body, instead of elected representatives." The right to representation is removed from citizens while these "experts", also known as technocrats, believe they possess impeccable scientific knowledge and are therefore masters of all solutions. Land issues are the perfect example to describe technocracy implementation.
Data gathering is the essence of technocracy, examining everything at a microscopic level, so miniscule that the broader picture is obscured. Technocrats believe every species, plant, speck of dirt, drop of water, and human on land needs detailed examination for ultimate management. This is all based on the irrational fear that humans will overpopulate, necessitating the conservation of land for humans that don't even exist. But the truth is, land is rich with resources needed for life. Because technocrats believe land and its resources will be consumed by too many humans, then both must be conserved and controlled, now. That is the deception. Once the data is collected, it will be used for the goal of controlling and managing all resources, and humans.
Created in 2005 by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) was just for this purpose, bringing together a group of various technocrats for gathering data on species and habitat which might need conservation.
Idaho was broken into fourteen "ecological sections", transcending all jurisdictional boundaries, with the next ten years spent on inventorying fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats, mapping their locations with geographic information system (GIS) layers for analysis. Scientific names were added to traditional names for wildlife and plants. A deer can no longer stand on its own as a beautiful creature, it has to be detailed as to type, what it eats, and where it lives.
In ten years, with all this data stockpiled, what was a strategy now became a plan, the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). While this discussion focuses on Idaho, the federal government funded SWAP plans in every state, and the agenda is the same.
The list of technocratic "experts" was expanded for this plan. From the CWCS, 205 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) were identified, along with their habitat, ecology, and threat information. Not being detailed enough these species were then placed into "tiers" with ranking for conservation need. Going further, species were detailed in each ecological section. For good measure, all vertebrates and invertebrates in the state were inventoried. The more details the better. This resulted in a 411 page document that describes in excruciating detail the species description, conservation status, population trend, habitat, threats, needed conservation action, and other laborious data which will be used to justify the need for regulations that will remove the threat, justifying continued need for conservation.
IDFG will need to implement a monitoring system for any changes in this data and that includes more GIS data layers. Needing further detail, the effectiveness of the monitoring will need to be monitored. Adaptive management is used by technocrats to incorporate new information for managing species and habitats. Using "conceptual models", technocrats try to predict desired outcomes for different approaches in conservation to determine if a desired outcome is achieved. In other words, experimenting around with nature.
If any of these species or habitat are identified on private property, what will IDFG do? They will have to protect both by regulating your land. Will technocrats have that authority? Because of their power within government agencies technocrats are the likely ones that will make the regulatory decisions.
The graphic tells the truth, how microscopic data will lead to regulations that will control how land is used, "influencing day to day compliance", requiring "permit approval", all for the purpose of controlling humans.
Technocracy is the non-violent weapon being used to wage war on America, its citizens, and our system of government. As more data is gathered this weapon will become more powerful in its governance over our lives. There will be no end to it unless citizens exercise their Constitutional right to representation over technocratic agendas.
This is the last 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 and corridors were explained in part three. Part four exposed those who are involved in the effort to redesign Island Park. How Island Park residents are being excluded as a primary voice in decisions was exposed in part five. Now that the full truth is out, where does Island Park go from here?
So now the truth is out. There are substantial organizations and foundations that work with federal agencies to promote connecting large landscapes into conservation with eventual regulatory requirements that will dictate how the Island Park community will be designed and how a property owners will be required to design their own land, or even use it. This is a covert agenda by outside groups, NGOs, and both state and federal governments to alter Island Park into some man made design, making it look like a zoo where wildlife can be "enjoyed" rather than letting her exist naturally as she has for generations.
The starting point is wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC), the Elk who cross US 20 two times a year on their migratory path. Although Targhee Pass is identified as a primary area of crossing and need for an overpass, the Elk actually make their crossing a few miles south of Bighorn Hills. This would require fencing which would force the Elk to alter their natural path.
No Elk, or any other wildlife, should die on their journey. The WVC numbers vary depending on which source is cited. All studies were conducted for the specific outcome of overpasses and connectivity while downplaying other alternatives, or even consideration for other possible options. Has the number of WVC, or even the number of Elk deaths increased in 50 years? Those numbers are never mentioned. These initiatives, NGOs, and government agencies with a massive agenda have decided to make the Elk an issue, with their bias, to implement their predetermined solutions.
Those who are part of this agenda, these initiatives, will try to dissuade us from accepting the truth, controlling and manipulating the dialogue on compassion for wildlife and the "threat of human-wildlife conflict", while continuing to hide what is coming next and who is involved. That "conflict" is a fabrication from their fantasies. The perception that there is no compassion for the Elk will be promoted. They will try to marginalize folks who do not support their agenda and who are willing to listen to the truth. A negative impression of those who oppose the initiative will be painted as uncaring and disrespectful towards the beautiful animals we all care about. None of this is true. This type of rhetoric is only to distract from the truth, while defining you as the enemy. The larger discussion about private property restrictions and impacts, fencing, acquisition, multiple use reductions, other wildlife and endangered species, the bison and brucellosis, and the connectivity agenda have all been avoided and hidden, and will continue to be avoided if allowed by Island Park guardians. Elk are loved just as much by those who seek the truth. Perhaps their love for the Elk is greater for not wanting to change their natural habitat, forcing them into a man made environment. There is no reason to be ashamed for wanting to protect them and Island Park.
Our Founding Fathers believed property rights exemplified the foundation of liberty.
“Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.” John Adams
“No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.” John Jay (First Chief Justice)
“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” Samuel Adams
And others believed this as well.
“The Right of property is the guardian of every other Right, and to deprive the people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their Liberty.” Arthur Lee
“Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing.” Calvin Coolidge
Property rights are the most precious gift of our Republic. We are not a democracy where the mob rules, we are a Republic and a nation whose foundation is based on laws, laws that protect our rights. Because we are not a democracy, and in spite of what they may believe, the masses of individuals, groups, government agencies, and wealth behind this agenda do not rule. Fabricated changes to boundaries and rules about land by those with ideological beliefs must never be accepted.
It seems most conflicts in the world are centered around the theft of property, the taking of land from others, often leading to battle. The theft occurring now is different in that there is no battle, but the war is the same.
Island Park is sovereign, independent from Yellowstone Park, with clear jurisdictional boundaries, not only at a city and county level, but at the state level. These boundaries must be protected and defended.
Island Park citizens must come together. They must become knowledgeable about NGOs, federal and state laws, and understand their rights. Understanding the hidden agenda is critical to understanding what rights will be taken from them. Citizens must ask questions, demand answers, and stand up for their rights, both as an Island Park resident and private property owner.
Others must be educated on the issues and brought on board with regular meetings that keep everyone current on the issues. When not in residency everyone should stay connected through all means of social media, emails, and other methods, sharing information as it becomes available. Move the discussion beyond compassion for the Elk to the real issues being hidden.
Coalition groups or advisory committees should be created to insist that your voice is the primary voice that must be heard with NGOs and other initiatives taking a back seat. Let them know their agenda is not welcome.
A broader discussion in solving WVC is needed with other solutions brought forth, including alternatives that haven't been given any consideration. And there are others. If the technocrats say an alternative is not beneficial, research it, find out what other areas have tried them, and the results. Come up with new ideas and solutions and present them to ITD. Keep the pressure on them to listen. Land alteration and forcing a change in the migration path of Elk are not the only answers to protect them.
As the guardians of Island Park, to those who are most bonded and connected to the land, stand up for her right to exist naturally, and your rights. Become involved and never allow anyone to change it into an artificially designed, faux zoo landscape. Appreciation for Island Park comes from how it has always existed.
This is the fifth 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.
It is critical to understand the massive number of organizations who are involved in this connectivity agenda and who align with government agencies to advance it.
In 2010, the Obama administration issued a memorandum, creating the America's Great Outdoors Initiative without any federal legislation, and assigning eight federal agencies to implement it. Two objectives were the creation of "corridors and connectivity", and advancing those "priorities through public private partnerships". A DOI order created 22 large landscape cooperatives across the U.S. with Island Park sitting in the Great Northern Large Landscape Cooperative (GNLCC). These cooperatives were tasked with coordinating all landscape conservation groups, including partnering federal agencies, placing land into conservation, and connecting them into large landscapes. There are 56 landscape initiatives that belong to the GNLCC including Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), High Divide (HD), Crown of the Continent (COC), Heart of the Rockies (HOR), Greater Yellowstone Coalition Committee (GYCC), Western Governors Association (WGA), and multiple land trusts. Here is their Steering Committee.
But there are other large landscape conservation groups as well.
Gary Tabor is the founder of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLN), co-founded the Y2Y Conservation Initiative, the Roundtable of the COC, and co-designed the Western Governors’ Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative. The Conservation Corridor, an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) program, facilitates wildlife corridor and ecological connectivity conservation, of which Mr. Tabor is the regional leader Vice Chair. As recent as 2016, Mr. Tabor was participating with the IUCN for Areas of Connectivity Conservation. Here is the CLLN network of partners.
The Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network (LCCN), "is the collective of the 22 LCCs collectively", whose council consists of the BLM, USFS, NPS, USFWS, among others; NGOs NatureServe and TNC; four international participants; and the CLLC.
The Network for Landscape Conservation (NLC), was created by the University of Montana and Lincoln Institute for Land Policy (LILP). Their mission is "helping people work effectively across boundaries to...protect...or connect natural systems at the large landscape scale...", and support an "enduring system of protected and connected natural systems at the large landscape scale." Gary Tabor and Michael Whitfield are on the coordinating committee. The LILP has a Large Landscape Conservation Strategic Framework for Policy and Action.
The WGA plans to launch a pilot project for wildlife mapping, identifying areas where development can occur with minimal impacts to wildlife, with Island Park being one project areas. Phase 1 includes inventorying species, habitat, unfragmented landscapes, protected habitats, and geographic features while evaluating connectivity tools and models in cooperation with NatureServe and WCS ongoing efforts to formulate connectivity best management practices. The project promises to contact all relevant stakeholders within the pilot area at the initiation of the project, including but not be limited to: Y2Y, WCS, and TNC. The project intends to hold at least 2 "stakeholder" meetings, with Island Park being one of those communities. By the end of Phase 1 they plan on having a "Completed connectivity/linkage plan identifying steps, tools, and outcomes for producing a connectivity data layer for the entire ID‐MT divide project area." The NGOs and HD must be thrilled. No start date was listed.
The Brainerd Foundation funds the NGOs Earthjustice, TNC, SC, WS, and NWF; COC, GYC, Y2Y, FW, and HOR initiatives; the Henry's Fork Foundation and Sonoran Institute. The Sonoran Institute partners with the TNC, WS, BLM, USFWS, NPS, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The Wilburforce Foundation (WCS partner) funds Y2Y, and the Turner foundation also funds these agendas.
As one can see, there are a substantial number of groups involved in this connectivity agenda, as well as money pouring in from wealthy individuals with the same ideology, and your tax dollar. But where are the voices whose heritage is bonded and connected to Island Park? Their voice, with first rights in importance, has been left out.
The US 20 Corridor has a website specific to the Targhee Pass Environmental Assessment (EA) phase of the project. It states ITD, following National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, is initiating an EA to evaluate risks, benefits, opportunities and costs associated with reconstruction of Targhee Pass, with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as the lead agency.
ITD has been studying the US 20 transportation corridor for 13 years, working with IDFG and the Henry's Fork Legacy Project (HFLP), assessing its condition, and identifying necessary improvements. Three studies were conducted during that time. 2014 (Cramer) - Methodology for Prioritizing Appropriate Mitigation Actions to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions on Idaho Highways; 2014 (Seidler) - US 20 Island Park Wildlife Collision Study - an examination of Road Ecology in the Island Park Caldera: Elk and Moose migration across US Highway 20 - Final Report; and 2016 (Cramer) - Safety Solutions for Wildlife Vehicle Collisions on Idaho’s US 20 and SH 87. Technocrats and individuals from outside the area have the lead voice here.
According to the website it was also during this time "one-on-one conversations with local agencies, municipalities, tribes and other key stakeholders" also took place, which were used for the Targhee Pass Environmental Study. ITD states comments on wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC) were "received in the scoping phase" of the study. Aside from the IDFG, HFLP, and technocrats, who? What Tribes?
The website states the NEPA process begins when a federal agency develops a proposal to take a major federal action or (as in this case) when federal funds would be utilized to implement a project. Federal funds were approved for this project in October, 2016. So the NEPA process was started prior to the funding? What does federal law say?
§ 23 CFR 771.119 Environmental Assessments, § 771.111 Early coordination, Public involvement, and Project Development, and § 450.210 Interested parties, Public involvement, and Consultation, all require public involvement for transportation planning and actions requiring an EA. This is accomplished through an early coordination process and is incorporated into the EA which should be available for public inspection. One or more public hearings...at a convenient time and place for any...project which requires significant amounts of right-of-way, substantially changes the layout or functions of connecting roadways...or has a substantial adverse impact on abutting property are also part of the law. The state is also required to develop and use a documented public involvement process that provides opportunities for public review and comment at key decision points. What opportunity for involvement were citizens granted during the studies, or even from the beginning 13 years ago?
§ 23 USC 128: Public Hearings states, "Any State transportation department which submits plans for a Federal-aid highway project involving the by passing of or, going through any city, town, or village, either incorporated or unincorporated, shall certify to the Secretary that it has had public hearings, or has afforded the opportunity for such hearings, and has considered the economic and social effects of such a location, its impact on the environment, and its consistency with the goals and objectives of such urban planning as has been promulgated by the community." The ITD excluded all of this. Were public hearings held regarding proposed actions on the corridor, during a time when all were in residency?
The website claims "The first step in the environmental assessment process is called scoping. This is an opportunity for the community to help identify issues and concerns specific to the study corridor." According to their timeline a study initiation and stakeholder assessment occurred in October, 2016. One public meeting was held in December with comments incorporated to refine alternatives and impact assessment methods in January, 2017. The subsequent April meeting was cancelled. The ITD Corridor Planning Guidebook mandates public participation and county official involvement at the beginning of any proposed project. Does it sound like the public and county criteria were met? How could it be the initiation of the project when studies had already been conducted, deals were made with other agencies, and only select groups involved?
Community based organizations are also listed as important groups for outreach. Aside from the HFLP, the majority who don't live in Island Park, what other community based organizations were contacted? Island Park residents should give serious consideration to creating a Civic Advisory Committee for transportation decisions, separate from NGOs and select groups, for comprehensive perspectives. More importantly, this project should be started over and conducted according to the law.
The ITD has clearly failed in meeting the public involvement requirement during the transportation planning. Open houses were scheduled during months when the majority were not in residence, and when the most difficult winter road conditions existed. A public hearing was never offered during a time when all were in residency. In addition, required socio-economic factors were clearly not included in the proposal or in any of the studies. Is it possible neither the NGOs or the ITD wanted the truth to come out?
If this Targhee Pass project moves forward, Island Park better prepare for possible land use planning changes that will follow. As previously mentioned, Northwest Property Owners Association (NWPOA) went through this nightmare but successfully stopped it. Their local NGO attempted to incorporate restrictive regulations into their county comprehensive plan which included: requirements for using qualified design professionals; assessments and studies for professional design and best management practices; zoning restrictions; impact fees; development moratoriums; growth limits; and incorporation of state and/or federal laws. ScienceDirect has an excellent article, Land use planning: A potential force for retaining habitat connectivity in the GYE and Beyond, that is full of the scams taking place now, including the belief that "...counties could exert more power in controlling private land development." Defenders of Wildlife promote using State Wildlife Action Plans to link conservation with land use planning. Both are worth reading to understand future agendas if this connectivity project moves forward.
Conclusion in Part 6.
Corridors to Connectivity
This is the fourth 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 and corridors were explained in part three. Now it is time to put all of it together with connectivity, the true agenda.
Here is the map of the boundaries in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), where the corridors and components lay.
Keeping corridors within the ecosystem boundary is the foundation for connectivity with Island Park as a prime target in the GYE. NGOs and scientists are using the US 20 Corridor and Elk migration to advance connectivity at Targhee Pass. It has nothing to do with saving Elk, the Elk are being used for emotional manipulation and a distraction. Several targeted areas for redesign have now been narrowed down to just the Targhee Pass, only because it is the closest site for connectivity. With the Strategic Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) identification of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and priority habitat conservation, along with other corridors, the plan has been established for sequential, consecutive, and progressive steps towards connectivity in the GYE, giving wildlife "room to roam". Island Park has a yellow star for high connectivity, this connectivity plan has been in the works for several years, and that is why she is being targeted.
Scientists and NGOs believe connectivity is needed for species population persistence, ensuring that one or many species can move freely throughout the landscape. Because they also believe humans cause connectivity "fragmentation" with land development, a highly aggressive effort is underway to convince land owners to place their land into conservation easements (CE), restrict or ban road use, restrict development and growth boundaries, buy land, and take advantage of road corridors for halting fragmentation. To these groups, connectivity means highly restricted human use to none at all. Corridors and connectivity are the means to control land use. Once land is in their possession, regardless of being a CE, protected or restricted area, or any other designation, control of that land will be dictated by the government, NGOs, and land trust groups.
If your county elected officials allow it, these groups will try and convince them to change land use planning in comprehensive plans, forcing you to comply with conservation measures on your property, reduce land use, and dictate or halt how you use your land. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has already "provided site-specific science in this region to aid Fremont County, Idaho to prepare a comprehensive growth and subdivision plan that considers the importance of protecting biodiversity and wildlife migration corridors." The Northwest Property Owners Alliance (NWPOA) in northern Idaho has already been through it and can tell you what will happen if your county acquiesces. They experienced the same dynamics being used by the US 20 Corridor study team including failure to notify, misinformation, and domination by special interest groups. Their article on environmentalism really captures what Island Park is experiencing.
In 2015, after two years of steering committee meetings (including UN NGOs and Canada), the Greater Northern Landscape Cooperative (GNLCC) released a preliminary "Connectivity Pilot Project" report and "...selected connectivity as a priority shared landscape objective...". The second of four objectives was to, "Conserve a permeable landscape with connectivity across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including species movement, genetic connectivity, migration, dispersal, life history, and biophysical processes." The corridors discussed in part three, plus the others listed here will all be used to justify placing Island Park into a massive, large scale, conservation area and eventual integration into the GYE as a protected area, under complete conservation status, with controlled land use. This agenda has been in the works for years, using Elk and the US 20 corridor is just the first step.
Their "data basin" is used to "inventory connectivity data"..."identify important areas for action"..."identify potential connectivity opportunities"...with the data also capturing..."'human footprint’ layers"..."land use stressors that may be expected to impact connectivity"..."as well as map layers representing jurisdictional boundaries."
Island Park is specifically targeted in this report. Using the High Divide (HD) as their "connection", the short term objective included mitigating US 20 and Hwy 87 corridors and habitat augmentation at highway crossings. Long term objectives included annexing Henry's Fork and Island Park from the Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GBLCC) to GNLCC; supporting collaborative work of state and federal agencies, and NGOs to conserve private lands and connect public lands; focusing on landscape water conservation; implementing highway mitigation for key linkages; and creating disincentives for wildlife urban interface (WUI-zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development).
Participants in this report included Gary Tabor, Michael Whitfield, Gregg Servheen, and Renee Seidler, the new ITD road ecologist expert for the US 20 Corridor plan. Ms. Seidler has stated her belief in connectivity, her other work is on connectivity, the cooperative agreement between the ITD and IDFG states the job responsibilities included developing programmatic and site specific information and criteria on wildlife connectivity, and her job description states the same.
Conveniently, IDFG Wildlife Coordinator, Gregg Servheen, is on the GNLCC Steering Committee mentioned above, and signed the contract between IDFG and ITD for the position Ms. Seidler eventually took through the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI). Mr. Servheen also works on helping you turn your land over for conservation easements (CE) through the Private Landowner Network, or find conservation resources. He worked with the Western Governor's Association (WGA) to build data bases on biological information for preserving wildlife corridors and habitats, and the goal to "complete a connectivity/linkage plan" along the High Divide. While all of this gives the appearance of impropriety, it is nothing more than a self-created, conglomerate of government agencies and NGOs, operating under no legal authority, working without public involvement on plans to address issues they created, disguising it as their concern about wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC), and which will eventually be used as an excuse for wildlife connectivity. WVC are nothing more than a distraction to keep you from learning about the connectivity agenda. A copy of the contract can be downloaded here.
In fact, the ITD and IDFG were so confident the US 20 Corridor project was in the bag, they hired Ms. Seidler by April 17th to move on to the connectivity phase. This was at least 10 days prior to the cancelled April 27th meeting that was supposed to include Island Park residents and their input.
Ms. Seidler is well prepared for this job having previously conducted a study with IDFG in 2014 called: US 20, Island Park Wildlife Collision Study, An examination of Road Ecology in the Island Park Caldera: Elk and Moose Migration Across US Highway 20. The summary states, "Conservation and mitigation efforts for Elk and Moose...will likely have significant positive impacts on habitat connectivity...". A copy of this report can be downloaded here.
The GNLCC held a major workshop in 2015, Conservation of Continental Connectivity through Community Based Collaboration. Presenting at this workshop, the High Divide celebrated their increase in CE from 194,483 acres to 1.2 million in 9 years, and their work in connecting large core protected areas and wildlife connectivity. Their goal is Ecological linkage between protected core areas to conserve wide-‐ranging wildlife in response to climate change, not WVC. To them, "Working Across Boundaries" includes "Local expertise—stakeholder input". This has rarely been sought from Island Park, but rather from an assembly of scientists, government officials, and NGOs, few who even have one connection to Island Park. The goal is complete "protected" connectivity in large landscape areas where Island Park sits. GNLCC held a Resource Managers Connectivity workshop in April, 2015, with Ms. Seidler as a participant and Gary Tabor and Michael Whitfield as speakers. Mr. Whitfield was also on the program committee for the 2014 National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation held in Washington, D.C.. Federal government agencies and NGOs comprised 76% of the participants, with only 1% landowners participating.
As the founder of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC), Gary Tabor has created both a Connectivity Conservation Hub in partnership with the GNLCC, located in Jackson, and a Ecological Connectivity Project with all the data and maps needed to conserve "a permable (sic) landscape with connectivity across its geography". According to Mr. Tabor, "A corridor is a distinct component of the landscape that provides connectivity. Wildlife corridors specifically facilitate the movement of animals, while other types of corridors may support connectivity for plants or ecological processes."
The Ecological Connectivity Project brings "managers" together who focus on connectivity. "The goal of the project is to conserve a permeable landscape with connectivity across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including species movement, genetic connectivity, migration, dispersal, life history, and biophysical processes." Michael Whitfield from the High Divide is also involved. This project does not include any Island Park residents, only government officials, NGOs, and initiative leaders. The justification for this project are primarily based on executive orders, policy resolutions, white papers, secretarial orders, and regulatory decisions that are not found in Idaho or federal law. However, GNLCC funding for 2017 is directed towards supporting this project for water, species, terrestrial and migration connectivity in large landscapes, your tax dollar.
Hidden on a US Geological Survey website is the 2015 proposal, "Landscape Conservation Design in the High Divide" with Mr. Whitfield as the Project Coordinator, and who is also the executive director of the Heart of the Rockies (HOR) initiative. Multiple NGOs, land trusts, and federal and state agencies are involved. The project summary "...seeks support to identify and evaluate future landscape configurations...emphasizing wildlife connectivity between large protected core areas..." such as Yellowstone. The need for "Landscape Conservation Design" was cited as one of the elements of the USFWS Strategic Habitat Conservation Plan. "A conservation design (cluster development) is a type of “Planned Unit Development” in which the underlying zoning and subdivision ordinances are modified to allow buildings (usually residences) to be grouped together on part of the site while permanently protecting the remainder of the site from development." This project supports the GNLCC Strategic Conservation Framework, one goal being to "Conserve a permeable landscape with connectivity across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems...". All of the data collection will be used to redesign Island Park into some artificial utopian paradise, rather than let her exist as she has for centuries, or be developed through local representation. And with all due respect sir, do not lump residents into a "Human Modification Index. Workshops on this project were supposedly held in Nov 15' through Fed 16', conveniently when most residents were not available. This is how subversive these groups are. A copy of the proposal can be downloaded here.
These individuals and groups have been working with each other, making decisions about Island Park and the residents, behind their backs. Do those who live in Island Park want their covert plans?
The following initiatives and organizations are actively involved in the connectivity agenda: Heart of the Rockies (HOR); Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), High Divide (HD), Crown of the Continent (COC), Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), and Future West (FW).
"Although America's national parks include some of the wildest places on Earth, no park in the U.S....is large enough to support the full range of native biological diversity over the long-term. In order to accommodate wide-ranging animals...our parks must be connected to other protected areas via wildlife corridors and their boundaries should be expanded wherever possible." (Rewilding Our National Parks)
A brief word why so many "experts" are making the decisions. These scientists are actually technocrats, experts in science who have a lot of power in, or influence with the government and are an adherent of technocracy. Technocracy is the power shift from elected representatives and bureaucrats to technocrats (engineers, managers, scientists); management of society by technical experts; or a society that is controlled by scientists, engineers, and other experts. Is this not where we are at? Patrick Wood has a series of excellent videos on his website, Technocracy News and Trends, that provide valuable insight into how our government has transitioned over to these "experts" and away from the people. It is the responsibility of elected officials to listen to those who elected them, not technocrats or special interest groups, or those who are not Fremont county residents. Have we abdicated our inherent power and responsibility of self-governance to others? Or has it been stolen from us?
No efforts have been taken to disclose or involve Island Park residents in these plans, no alternatives to overpasses and fencing have been discussed, no input has been sought from anyone except the UN NGOs, cooperatives, technocrats, and government agencies, and No discussion has ever taken place on their plans for connectivity. Studies were conducted for the US 20 Corridor plan without required prior notification to Island Park residents. And why should they bother, the protection of Elk is not the issue, it is a distraction from what they are really planning.
All evidence points to the agenda for connectivity, on websites, in reports, participants own statements, and in studies. The ITD, their study team, NGOs, and initiatives have not been transparent with Island Park residents, misrepresented what they are actually doing, and have violated every drop of what is ethical. Shame on all of them.
It is important to remember, there is no federal legislation for this agenda. What law allows arbitrary erasure of jurisdictional boundaries? This is a concerted effort by individuals and groups with an ideology, who have successfully engaged the government with the same ideology, and are proceeding forward without any laws. Island Park has a population of 286 as of 2016. That swells to several thousand during the summer when residents come to their summer homes. The number of individuals pursuing this connectivity and conservation agenda are in the thousands, with millions of dollars being funneled into it. Island Park residents, who own homes and pay taxes, are the guardians of Island Park, and who elect city and country officials to represent them. Officials are obligated to listen to their voice, not special interest groups from other states or counties. The technocrats and elite who believe they know better, and who hide their agenda, are usurping those rights. Is this what Fremont County citizens want?
The Declaration of Independence states governments derive "...their just powers from the consent of the governed." The Idaho Constitution, Article I, Section 2 states, "All political power is inherent in the people." It is time to recapture the self governance our Founding Fathers created for us.
No individual wants Elk harmed and WVC must certainly be addressed. However, tearing up and environmentally engineering the land for ulterior motives is not the solution, there are other alternatives beyond what the technocrats say won't work that require consideration. Island Park residents should be the lead in discussing these alternatives, how they want to protect her and the Elk, and the ones who hold the right to make those decisions.
These technocrats and NGOs have zero connection to Island Park, spending their time reducing it to nothing more than a mathematical formula, and assigning point values for the purpose of artificially engineering it into something that it isn't. There is no Island Park asset that has more or less value than another and in spite of what they say or believe, this land is not "fragmented" by us, it is fully connected in every way. They are welcome to visit and walk on the path they designated, but respectfully, do not come to Island Park for environmental engineering, passing it off as a transportation project for saving wildlife when your true goal is connectivity and "conservation design". As her Guardians, Island Park is ours to protect, not yours to alter.
Part 5 will reveal where all of this originated.
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.
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!