Sunday, February 22, 2015

Item #1, Index to Home page


Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) is run by volunteers. This page you are on - the home page, is up to date.
 Most of the other pages on this web site have not been changed in years, because we need new volunteer(s), with web design skills, to help run the web site.  

This "home page" is managed like a blog, - items are added and deleted to this page to keep it timely. The Blog software misbehaves sometimes and alters the font type or font size or adds space breaks  and sometimes it just refuses to be fixed...sorry. I just don't understand it, I think I need to learn HTML editing skills.
As it was printed, in April 2017 - this "Home page" is about 40 "letter size" pages of text.
Scroll down immediately below for an index of how this "blog" is ordered..  
 Older excerpts of the blog,  from 2015, 2014 and 2013 are found on "older posts",  which is a button on the lower right.

Home page: 2020 Deadlines and Events and also alerts, issue/project and current events discussions

Members can belong to only Prairie Hills Audubon Society or they can join both Prairie Hills Audubon Society and the National Audubon Society
To join Prairie Hills Audubon Society & the National Audubon Society 
on-line at the same time go to
Our chapter code is V02, the 0 is a zero.  If folks join the NAS directly without using this chapter link, If you live in our territory (much of western SD) you will belong to our chapter, but we get no financial credit for the new membership dues.
Chapter only memberships are also available, for which you must mail checks to Prairie Hills Audubon Society, P.O. Box 788, Black Hawk, SD 57718.
Basic membership is $20, low-iincome is $10, scholarships are available in exchange for volunteer work,
 with approval of Board.


1. Events & Deadlines & Alerts in March 2020 & forward into 2020

1.) Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) - the organization's events 
2) iterative events,- local environmental/conservation group's monthly meeting list 
              (iterative events - events which reoccur each month at same day/time) 
3.) Federal law and rule making -  links  to Recovering America’s Wildlife Act - a federal wildlife funding bill. Attacks on Endangered species Act - Excerpts New York Times article on roll back of environmental regulations by Trump administration    (100 roll backs), and
4.)  Updates on PHAS's greater Sage grouse litigation,  Links. 
5.)  Then specific events in chronological order, - Among the many events are the issues of -     .Black Hills National Forest over cutting Trees  & SD's river otter.  Nest Predator Bounty Program section this is another long section.  Event notices may include written alerts on subject matter that is still relevant/active after the event & thus event/deadline notice may be left up even after the original  date has passed, This section is arranged mostly in chronological order.

6) . then it goes to old alerts 
Old Alert Topics 
A) SD Mountain Lion Plan Revision & Nebraska 2020 season revisions Alerts
B) Mineral Mountain Resources Exploration project
C) Pennington County - Croell Sand/Gravel Mine Issue
D) Non-meandered waters Alert
E) Alert on Resilient Landscape DEIS (Forest Service)
F) announcement of Petitions to list or de-list under ESA and :
G)  S3254/SB 114 (Land Trade Little Spearfish Canyon & Bismark Lake) & 
H).  SD Important Bird Areas
I)  Missouri River Recovery
J) to Sage Grouse Litigation filed by PHAS and others in February  2016
K) then goes to - suspended campaigns discussions, 
for which comment deadlines have past, but related issues persist

Prairie Hills Audubon Society  (PHAS) 
Meetings & Events

PHAS now has a Facebook page
Prairie dog photo copyright by Nancy Hilding

We schedule membership evening meetings some months...often towards later half of the month

PHAS schedules Zoom discussion & "working" meetings during most months that are not announced on this web page. but announcements are send to members and friends who have expressed  past interest in some of the issues we follow - let us know if you want to be invited to "working' meetings on topics we follow.
PHAS had no formal Zoom member'smeeting in the month of June, we will have one at the end of July and likely August.

July PHAS meeting by Zoom
July 31st 
Topic: Structural Stages and Species Viability, BHNF
Time: Friday July, 31st, 2020, 6:30 PM MT
Speaker: Kristopher Hennings, Forest Wildlife
Program Manager, Black Hills National Forest

Join Zoom Meeting

 We had a Zoom meeting on the evening of Friday, May 29th, 6:30 pm MT
It was on BHNF timber program and a FS report called "Timber Growth and Yield Draft General Technical Report" - a report that documents the Forest's not sustainable cut. Speaker: Jonathan Word, BHNF's Natural Resources Staff Officer.

Our link to this meeting on Zoom Cloud has been terminated, but we will figure out how to put it on a Drop Box

Here ilink to the Forest Service's  (FS) web page with link to report and other data on this issue and 
Scroll down to May 29th for more details on the issue

We had a meeting the last week in April, (Wednesday, 4/29/20) by Zoom, 
on the SD river otter, speaker Silka Kempema.

Topic: South Dakota's River Otters
Time: Apr 29, 2020, 6:30 PM 
Speaker: Silka Kempema of SD Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Wildlife Diversity Program 

Link to recording of the meeting on Otters (already happened)
Nancy was a little late starting the recording and missed the first three slides, which included the title slide, a slide called Mustelid - which had 4 characteristics listed (carnivore, long body, short legs, scent glands) and a slide called Biology, which had 3 points.- (adapted to life in water, indicator of water quality, associated with beaver.)

Scroll down to 6/19 for more info:


Another PHAS ZOOM Meeting in late MARCH (already happened, on Fight to Save the Greater Sage Grouse) -  Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project was the speaker
Link to recording of the meeting on Sage Grouse (already happened)

We also used to have PHAS lunch or dinner meetings in some months  - 
at Hana's Restaurant,  (Korean/Japanese food), on 3550 Sturgis Rd, Rapid City, however due to social distancing have temporarily discontinued those. Instead we are having Zoom conferences for working meetings. Person's that we know to be interested in topics are invited - they are generally not posted on web /Facebook pages. Contact Nancy if you want to be invited to discussion meetings...
we are having on otters, cougars and BHNF issues just now.

 February's membership meeting was on GFP program on Nest Predator Bounty Program Friday evening- the last week of February - on February 28th, at West River Electric Co-op building, and a meeting on greater sage grouse in  last week in  March , 
March 31st  by Zoom Audio/Video Conference.  Meeting in the last week in April: April 29th meeting on SD River Otters by Zoom Audio/Video Conference. (scroll down)

Field trips occur when announced - however likely won't happen  for a while due to social distancing.
 Board meetings are by conference call and members welcome. 
Contact - nhilding (at), 787-6779
We need new board members, contact Nancy if interested in service.
We need help with web site design and maintenance
We may shelter e-mail addresses by replacing @ with (at) 




Early Part of the Month Enviro Group Meets:
Various environmental groups meet on a fixed/repeating day of month.

The Black Hills Sportsmen have lunch meeting (start 12:00 am) the first Tuesday,  Rapid City, Rushmore Hotel, for info: Eric Porisch <ericporisch(at)>, 
Rapid City Chapter of Izaak Walton League may meet in the eve (6:30 pm) of the first Wednesday
Rapid City,  normally at  Outdoor Campus West (OCW), they may take a break during summer.
for info: Frank Caesare <fdic917 (at)>. Ikes have had virtual meetings since pandemic
Northern Hills Bird Club normally meets the first Thursday eve (7 pm) , Sturgis Library - except  in June-August, when they have potlucks, at member's homes. 
- they also generally have 2 field trips each month on Saturdays.However due to pandemic all activity is suspended. -- or for info: Nancy Drilling, -, 791-0459 (President)  or for info: Contact Vic/Donna Fondy 605-269-2553,
The Rapid City Sustainability Committee meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at the City/School Administration Building at 5:30 it is open to the public and they focus on sustainable practices for the City.
For info: Erik Heikes:  EHeikes (at)
Dakota Rural Action normally meets second Tuesday eve, mixed locations,
for info: Rick Bell <>:
The Black Hills Photography Club normally meets the second Tuesday of the month at Outdoor Campus West, 6:30 pm.
Some times, the meetings are about photography of outdoor's subjects
and photography field trips to photograph outdoors may also be planned.
The Darton Society meets at Outdoor Campus West (OCW) on 2nd Monday, 
maybe not during the summer (please verify meeting times)
For info: Cathie or LeRoy Draine at 787-5956 or cathiedraine (at)
Norbeck Society normally meets second Thursday eve, Rapid City,
at - SDSMT, Classroom Bldg., Faculty Lounge  or Outdoor Campus West at 5:45 pm
Monthly meetings may be skipped in the summer.
for info: Bob Burns < (at)>,787-4783,
SD Chapter of Citizen's Climate Lobby meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at Outdoor Campus West at 6:30 pm, in Rapid City   For info: Mary Deibert,  rmdeibert (at), 605-484-5790.
Clean Water Alliance normally meets the second Saturday
at 10:00 am at the Rapid City Public Library, downtown.  for info: nobhuranium (at)
Meets occurring at not regular times  of the Month:

Black Hills Group of Sierra Club has meetings and outings as announced, meetings are often on 4th Thursdays
For info on Sierra Club, e-mail -Sandra Seberger <sandralss57702 (at)> 605-342-4335, 

We shelter e-mail addresses by replacing @ with (at) 







Recovering America’s Wildlife Act 
PHAS and the National Audubon Society support the
 Recovering America’s Wildlife Act bill - it is in the House.It seeks to increase federal funding to state and tribal wildlife agencies, to protect "at risk wildlife".
 RAWA passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 26-6.  All of the Democrats voted for it, and 7 of the 13 committee Republicans voted for it.  Such an overwhelming, bipartisan vote should provide real momentum for the bill.  All totaled, RAWA now has 163 co-sponsors, including 41 Republicans.  Such a large number of co-sponsors should also help make it easier for the bill to move forward towards a successful House floor vote. It may go to the floor in February or March.
Dusty Johnson, John Thune, Mike Rounds are not yet co-sponsors or indicated support
 (as of Feb 6th)
.  Link to the bill
Here is a link to some basic South Dakota-centric facts regarding the bill that might be good to include in your message:
National Audubon Society Review of the bill:

Excerpt from above NAS article:
"In wildlife action plans submitted to USFWS, state agencies have identified some 8,000 animal species of “greatest conservation need,” including more than 800 birds. To implement those plans and keep species from sliding toward extinction, each state would need an average of $26 million a year—a total of $1.3 billion. But current federal spending for state and tribal wildlife grants falls far short of the mark, "

National Wildlife Federation
There is a resolution to support this in the SD Legislature, passed house and to be considered next in Senate Ag and Natural Resources (as of 3/2/20)
 Endangered Species Act under Attack - Contact Congress
Trump's Department of Interior rule-making to harm the  Endangered Species Act

National Audubon Society Alert - Send a letter to SD congress members:

New York Times Article

Earth Justice Alert:

Common Dreams Article



"The Trump Administration Is Reversing 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List."

Link to a New York Times Article, updated July 15th, 2020

Excerpt from article:
"After three years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo.

Calling the rules unnecessary and burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses, his administration has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. Several major reversals have been finalized in recent weeks as the country has struggled to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, counts counts nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than 30 additional rollbacks are still in progress."

Rollbacks completed  - 68 Rollbacks in process - 32;  Total rollbacks - 100

The sequence of numbers is 1) # of rollbacks completed, 2) # in progress and 3) total  #  rollback -- these numbers appear to right side of text
Air pollution and emissions - 19, 8, 27

Drilling and extraction -  11,  8, 19

Infrastructure and planning - 12, 1, 13

Animals  - 11, 1, 12

Toxic substances and safety -  6, 2, 8

Water pollution -  4, 7, 11

Other -  5, 5, 10     

We suggest you read the article to learn more  details on rollbacks- see link above
 Also Nancy can send you a PDF of the Article (nhiding (at) 
PHAS has sued Trump Administration over greater sage grouse management plans, We won an injunction & are thus part of fighting these 100 roll backs, under animals.
 Scroll down >>
On January 10, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would revise NEPA’s implementing regulations.[1]
Trump announced changes to NEPA rules in mid July.
Articles about:

Council on Environmental Quality publications:
CEQ’s website has the final CEQ NEPA rule,
At the website, you can access the following documents. 
Proposed rule's text:
Fact Sheet from Government"


American Rivers: Don’t let the Trump administration kneecap NEPA!
Audubon Society: Don’t Let the White House Gut the National Environmental Policy Act
Environmental Defense Fund: Tell Trump: Don't Roll Back Environmental Standards
Ohio Environmental Council: Action alert
National Wildlife Federation: Don’t Let the Trump Administration Mute Your Voice for Wildlife
NRDC: Don’t let Trump silence the American people and embolden polluters
Sierra Club: Stop One of the Trump Administration’s Biggest Environmental Assaults Yet
Waterkeeper Alliance: Undermining a Fundamental Law
*WildEarth Guardians
Protecting Greater Sage Grouse:
Oct 16th, 2019 
Judge Winmill grants a preliminary injunction against Trump's BLM  (History)
in lawsuit brought by Prairie Hills Audubon Society, Western Watersheds Project, 
Center for Biological Diversity & WildEarth Guardians.
Our Attorneys: Advocates for the West

Link to the injunction is below:

New York Times Article on

Dec 18th, 2019 (History)

 Interior Department, states appeal Judge Winmill'sage grouse ruling

Link to article about"

    We are suing to protect Sage Grouse
    NEWS - PHAS Press Releases - 

    Excerpt from Press Release
    Former Oil Industry Lobbyist Violated Federal Law, Groups Say
    BOISE, Ida. ― Four conservation groups sued Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Idaho federal court today over their recent decisions to gut protections for greater sage grouse across millions of acres of public land in the West.  A copy of the lawsuit is available here. The groups are Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and Prairie Hills Audubon Society. 
    “The Trump Administration is gutting sage-grouse protections on at least 50 million acres of public lands without admitting what they are doing,” said Laird J. Lucas, lead attorney for the Plaintiff groups with Advocates for the West. “The lawsuit today exposes these actions as violating bedrock federal laws and flouting the extensive body of science on what sage-grouse need to survive.”

    Photo of Sage Grouse, copyright Dan Licht

    April 22th Update - Preliminary Injunction Requested
    Court Order Sought to Stop Destruction of Sage-grouse Habitat in Seven States 

    BOISE, Idaho― Four conservation groups have asked a federal judge to block new plans that allow drilling, mining and other destructive activities across 51 million acres of greater sage-grouse habitat in seven western states: Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California and Oregon.

    The motion for a preliminary injunction, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boise, says the land-management plans approved by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt last month would gut protections for the birds’ dwindling populations and destroy their habitat.


    Recent News article on this injunction request.

    Here are links about PHAS's 2016 original litigation 
    that these recent 2019 filings supplement.


    D BLM's Supplemental EISs on the management of greater sage grouse on their lands in 6 western states (DEADLINE  to comment past). They did these SEISs as a response to the litigation's complaints about their NEPA processes.


    ZOOM MEETING recorded (History)
    PHAS monthly meeting - Greater Sage Grouse
    Prairie Hills Audubon Society March Meeting, Tuesday March 31st
    Topic: “The Fight to Save the Greater Sage Grouse”
     Speaker: Erik Molvar, Executive Director Western Watersheds


     In March 2019, Prairie Hills Audubon Society and 3 other conservation groups sued acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the Bureau of Land Management in federal court  over their recent decisions to gut protections for greater sage grouse across millions of acres of public land in the West. Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and Prairie Hills Audubon Society are represented in the case by attorneys from Advocates for the West.

    February 2016 Original Litigation
    March 2019 Litigation supplement
    April 2019 Injunction request