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 current crop of volunteers don't know how to edit them -- 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 editing software misbehaves sometimes and alters the font type or font size or adds unwanted inches of 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.

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 June 2020 & forward into 2020

1.) Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) - the organization's events 
2)  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. SD Game,Fish and Parks Sept 2nd & 3rd meeting is in this 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. Some alerts are on the old posts page, with is another button to push.
3) Some recent alerts on state based issues , where immediate deadlins are passed- River otters, nest predator bounty issue
4) 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), 
5)  Updates on PHAS's greater Sage grouse litigation,  Links. 

IN THE NEXT OLDER BLOG POSTING (see a button on your screen in lower right, click on it)  - OLDER ALERTS -  are in the older posts button:

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 membership meetings are scheduled at the end of the month - in the last week. The day may vary, but check here for events likely between the 25th-31st of any month.
PHAS had no formal Zoom member's meeting in the month of June, 
but we will have one at the end of July and likely August. Such meetings are posted to web pages & Facebook.

PHAS schedules Zoom discussion & "working" meetings during most months that are not announced on this web page. but announcements are sent 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.


Time: Thursday, October 29th, 2020, 6:30 PM MT
Topic: Recent Mining Issues in the Black Hills
Speakers: Lilias Jarding, Ph.D., Black Hills Clean
Water Alliance
Hearing a lot about mining and potential mining in the Black Hills? It's not an accident. We're part of an international gold rush. Learn more about this, uranium mining, and a plan to protect the central Black Hills.

To join the Zoom Meetings - type in the link:
Meeting ID: 854 3392 0233
Passcode: 534620

You can dial by phone instead of using the on-line video linkage
(We think any of these numbers work from SD)
+1 301 715 8592 (Germantown), +1 312 626 6799 (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 (New York),+1 253 215 8782 (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 (Houston),+1 669 900 6833 (San Jose)
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,85433920233#,,,,,,0#,,534620# US (Tacoma)

 Meeting ID: 854 3392 0233
Passcode: 534620
For help with Zoom, contact Nancy Hilding

Time: Monday, November 30th, 6:30 PM MT
Topic: Title: Climate Watch: Monitoring Birds in a
Changing Climate
Speakers: Kathy Dale, National Audubon Society’s
Director of Science Technology

Audubon’s newest community science effort, Climate Watch, seeks to understand how birds are being affected by climate
change and to test the future range change predictions for U.S. species. Learn about Audubon’s Climate Watch program, the science that is its foundation and current results. Kathy will talk about Audubon’s ground-breaking work to model the future of birds’ response to climate change and the way you can help ground-truth how your birds are responding.

To join the Zoom Meetings - type in the link:
Meeting ID: 854 3392 0233
Passcode: 534620

You can dial by phone instead of using the on-line video linkage
(We think any of these numbers work from SD)
+1 301 715 8592 (Germantown), +1 312 626 6799 (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 (New York),+1 253 215 8782 (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 (Houston),+1 669 900 6833 (San Jose)
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,85433920233#,,,,,,0#,,534620# US (Tacoma)

 Meeting ID: 854 3392 0233
Passcode: 534620
For help with Zoom, contact Nancy Hilding

September Meeting (History)
Time:  Tuesday, September 29th, 6:30 PM MT
Topic: Conservation of Black-backed Woodpeckers in the Black Hills
Speakers: Chad Hanson, Ph.D., research ecologist
Dr. Hanson will discuss the threats to the Black Hills subspecies of the Black-backed Woodpecker, including logging, fire suppression, and small population size due to limited suitable habitat. He will suggest key conservation steps that should be taken to ensure viable populations. 
We expect to post link to the recording on 9/30.

Link to recording on Zoom Cloud

Passcode: NQtu=nk5 





August Meeting (HISTORY-recording is on the cloud) 

Time:  Thursday, August 27th, 2020, 6:30 PM MT
Topic: Black Hills National Forest - timber sustainability and the implications of overharvesting
Speakers: Mary Zimmerman, volunteer for the Norbeck Society; Dave Mertz, retired forester 
Dave and Mary will talk about the implications of over-harvesting on the forest. Their presentations may include some power-points, videos, discussion and answering questions.

Link to recording on Zoom:

Passcode: ^*d6YYi= 

(HISTORY - no longer on the  Zoom cloud due to limited space  9/29, 
we will figure out how to post elsewhere.)  
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
Password: 31mm0FU? 

(HISTORY recording not on the Zoom Cloud due to limited space
MAY 29th
 Friday, May 29th, 6:30 pm MT
 "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 deleted due to lack of space, 
but we will figure out how to put it on a Drop Box and distribute it that way

(HISTORY recording no longer on the  Zoom cloud due to limited space) 
APRIL 29th
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 

Our link to this meeting on Zoom Cloud has been deleted due to lack of space, 

but we will figure out how to put it in a Drop Box and distribute it that way

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.)


HISTORY - (Zoom meeting - HISTORY- Recording removed from zoom cloud 9/29, we will figure out how to post elsewhere.)
 MARCH 31st 
Topic: Fight to Save the Greater Sage Grouse -  
Speaker:  Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project was the speaker

Link to recording of the meeting on Sage Grouse (already happened)


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 river otters, cougars, SDGFP  various plans, and BHNF timber issues just now.
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
we  have temporarily discontinued those. 

 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, 
We helped co-sponsor a cracker barrel in Piedmont on the second Saturday of February

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) 



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






Thursday, & Friday October 1 & 2nd
 Game, Fish and Parks Commission
 Meeting Agenda

To listen to the entire meeting beginning Thursday at 1:00 p.m. CT via livestream at  
You can attend remotely 
THURSDAY Afternoon Zoom Meeting Link
or join via conference call Dial 1 669 900 9128 Meeting ID: 961 3699 2416 Password: 734856
or join via conference call Dial 1 669 900 9128 Meeting ID: 943 6152 2499 Password: 886500 

They will also have a meeting in Thursday's morning at  9  am on governance, also virtual 
Zoom links are in the agenda 
Thursday Mornings Zoom Meeting Link 
or join via conference call Dial 1 669 900 9128 Meeting ID: 950 2250 7962 Password: 861820 

You can comment on any proposed rule change (or anything else - select "other") 
 in writing by midnight CT of Sunday Sept 27th
Post comments on line at: 

Finalizations are about fee structures for newly acquired lodging 
There are 3 petitions for rulemaking from the public on bobcat and elk hunting and access on non-meandered lakes 
An issue that PHAS is concerned with, because of  it's absence, is a failure of SD GFP Commission to set a comment period on its 2020 Threatened and Endangered Species Status (or Biennial )Review. To see that you need to look at the third Commission books from September - see page 31

You can testify for 3 minutes on any subject during the "open forum" and 
for 3 minutes per each  finalization during the rule making hearing (3 minutes on on each rule up for review.) 
Thursdays  are open forums and public hearing on finalizations

Link to see the Commissioner's contact info
Here are the e-mails of Commissioners,  you can e-mail them directly at any time, but your e-mail will not go into the official records of GFP and be forwarded to the IRRC. You can e-mail or call at home and also send in comments on-line 365 days of the year (Please be polite).

October 6th 
Candidate Forum- Public Utilities Commission 
Dakota Rural Action (DRA) is hosting a  PUC Candidate Forum is October 6 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 pm MT. 

Dakota Rural Action (DRA) is hosting a Zoom Candidate Forum for the South Dakota PUC race between incumbent Commissioner Gary Hanson and Challenger Remi Bald Eagle on Tuesday, Oct. 6th from 6-7:30pm MT (7-8:30pm CT) via Zoom.

The South Dakota PUC regulates electric, natural gas, and telephone utilities, as well as issuing permits for the siting of wind energy, solar energy, and electric transmission facilities, as well as oil & gas pipelines. The PUC also licenses and inspects public grain warehouses and grain buyers in the state. Commissioners serve six-year terms with no term limits.

 Q&A session moderated by Rick Bell, Chair of DRA's Community Energy Development Committee.

Registration is limited, and  DRA will be prioritizing participants who are South Dakota registered voters. 

October 6th
Norbeck Society October Zoom Meeting
Blaine Cook  a retired forester (silvaculturist), speaking on BHNF issues

Topic: Norbeck Society Presents: A conversation with Blaine Cook "A Changing Forest"
Time: Oct 6, 2020 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 858 599 9422
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,8585999422# US (New York)
+13017158592,,8585999422# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 858 599 9422
Find your local number:



Wildlife watching exceeds 

hunting/fishing for participants

2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation: National Overview
Download the USFWS survey on wildlife related recreation 2016.
Wildlife watching - page 7, fishing- page 5, hunting -page 6
 Total wildlife watching expenditures: $75.9 billion, Total fishing expenditures: $ 46.1 billion, Total hunting expenditures: $ 25.6 billion,
 Total wildlife watching participants: 86.million, Total Anglers 35.8 million, Total hunters: 11.5 million
 Of this Wildlife Watching subset 
Wildlife watching away from home: 23.7 million participants  or at watching home: 81.1 million;
Observe Wildlife away from home:19.6 million, at home 43.8 million, 
Photograph Wildlife away from home:13.7 million, at home  30.5 million
 Feed wildlife away from home: 4.9 million, at home 59.1 million, 
Visit public parks or areas 11.4 million; Maintain plantings or natural areas 11.0 million
Bird Observers: 2016
Away-from-Home Observers : 16.3 million
Around-the-Home Observers: 38.7 million

Total Bird Observers: 45.1 million

We include link to another report,  done just for SD by SD Game, Fish and Parks
"Economic Impact of Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, Boating, and Wildlife Viewing in South Dakota"

"South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks commissioned this study to estimate the regional and statewide economic activity generated by the State’s fish, wildlife and boating-related resources. Drawing from license sales records and survey-based data sources, this report presents economic contributions based on retail spending in South Dakota attributable to recreational fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, boating and trapping. "
Please note the report does not include income from "at home wildlife watching" - which is very significant in the federal study..

Wild Earth Guardians Alert on  Trump's latest attack on the Endangered Species Act, late August 2020 

We are not sure what will happen to this bill due to pandemic, we think it is on hold.
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."

"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.


     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 - link will be deleted Sept 29th)
    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


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