Thursday, March 25, 2021

Item #1, Index to Home page

PRAIRIE HILLS AUDUBON SOCIETY (PHAS)  HOME PAGE as BLOG

Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) is run by volunteers. This page you are on - the home page, is up to date and is a google blog. .
 Many of the other pages on this web site have not been changed in  10 or 11 years, because we lacked volunteers who know how to edit them -- we finally have learned some web design skills
.   We hope we can get our web pages fixed and updated soon and the other pages are slowly getting changed. 

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 sometimes adds unwanted inches of space breaks and sometimes it just refuses to be fixed...sorry. I just don't understand it -- I need to learn some HTML editing skills.

Scroll down immediately below for an index of how this "blog" is ordered..

Home page: includes 2021 Deadlines and Events and also alerts, issue/project and current events discussions
Older posts are in "older posts" - scroll down it is red text in the lower right at the bottom above the maroon field.
https://phas-wsd.blogspot.com/2015/02/item-2-eventsdeadlines_47.html 
 Much older excerpts of the blog,  from 2015, 2014 and 2013 are found in blog archive which is shown as red text on a maroon background at the bottom,

MEMBERSHIP
Members can belong to only Prairie Hills Audubon Society or they can join both Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) and the National Audubon Society (NAS)
To join Prairie Hills Audubon Society & the National Audubon Society 
on-line - joining both at the same time go to

https://action.audubon.org/donate/chapter-membership

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 become a member in our chapter, 
but we get no specific extra financial credit for the new membership dues.  We get a fixed grant of $565 dollars a year from the National Audubon Society and normally have about 210-230 joint members, which is about $2.50-$2.70 per member. 
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-income is $10, scholarships are available in exchange for volunteer work,
 with approval of Board in each instance.

Prairie Hills Audubon Society is a non-profit corporation and our purpose is to engage in such educational, scientific, literary, historical, charitable pursuits and purposes that will educate about, protect and restore the environment and natural heritage. All our purposes conform with the provision of Section 501c(3) of the tax code of the IRS.  The board of directors decides how the financial resources are spent, to further our mission and in compliance with the IRS requirements. 
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INDEX TO THE NEXT SECTIONS (ON THIS BLOG POST)

1. Events & Deadlines & Alerts in January 2021 & forward into 2021

1) Recent News - relevant to PHAS actions
2.) Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) - the organization's events, upcoming and  historic in the past year. Also recent chapter accomplishments.
3)  Then specific events in chronological order, -  It had a section on the legislature , cracker barrels, Audubon's & SDGFP's photo contests and Climate Watch but they are deleted or are moved down the blog order. This section is arranged mostly in chronological order.    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,  Some alerts with out-of-date deadlines are on the older posts page, which is another button to push. https://phas-wsd.blogspot.com/2015/02/item-2-eventsdeadlines_47.html 
4) Some recent alerts on state based issues , where there are no immediate deadlines - It has a section on timber issues in the Black Hills
5) Federal law and rule making - Info. on Federal  issues, such as  links to  NYTimes article on roll back of environmental regulations by Trump administration    (100 plus roll-backs), 
6) SD Legislature


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

1. SD River otters
2. Nest Predator Bounty Program
3. Mining
4.Greater sage grouse
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, 

              
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RECENT NEWS SECTION - Section # 1
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Recent PHAS news February 11th, 2021 - Another win in our  Sage-Grouse lawsuit

Federal Judge Overturns Trump Administration’s Gutting of Sage-Grouse Protections from Mining

photo by D Licht

BOISE, Idaho— A federal judge on 2/11/21 overturned a Trump administration decision to strip protections from 10 million acres, mostly in Nevada and Idaho, to allow mining in vital habitat for greater sage grouse. The ruling is the latest in a series of court victories for sage grouse conservation.

Attorneys from Advocates for the West represent Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and Prairie Hills Audubon Society in this case.  


Link to the press release:


Articles



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Recent PHAS news - February 16th, 2021

Prairie Hills Audubon Society and other conservation groups called on the Forest Service to sharply reduce logging in the Black Hills National Forest. 

Here is a link to the multi-party letter sent by PHAS and other groups and Oglala Sioux Tribe to the Forest Service about the overharvesting

https://www.scribd.com/document/499857016/2021-02-16-BHNF-Regional-Office-Meet-Request-Re-BHNF-Sustained-Yield


Some news article about that:

 

Groups call for reduced Black Hills logging

Marc Heller, E&E News reporter

Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2021/02/24/stories/1063725899


 

Republicans jump into the fray over Black Hills logging

Marc Heller, E&E News reporter

Published: Thursday, March 4, 2021

https://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2021/03/04/stories/1063726579?utm_campaign=edition&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eenews%3Aeedaily


 

Tuesday 23rd of March, the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station is releasing a scientific General Technical Report titled  - A Scenario-Based Assessment to Inform Sustainable Ponderosa Pine Timber Harvest on the Black Hills National Forest

Please see this press release for more information. 


Rocky Mountain Research Station will host a science webinar to discuss the data, methodology, and report findings on April 7, 2021 beginning at 10:30 a.m. MDT. Pre-registration is required.       https://www.fs.usda.gov/rmrs/events/webinar-science-based-scenarios-inform-forest-management-black-hills-national-forest 

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END OF RECENT NEWS SECTION
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BEGINNING OF PHAS EVENTS SECTION
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Section # 2 is on 
Prairie Hills Audubon Society  (PHAS) 
Meetings & Events, listing upcoming in 2021 
and historic meetings in 2020
Scroll past this section to get to other events that are in chronological order 

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 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.

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PHAS April Zoom Member's Meeting.
Thursday April 29th, 2021
Zoom meeting 6:30 pm MT
2 topics: SD GFP & killing of predators and also BHNF overcutting of conifers.

We will show a video film, “Cull of the Wild"
"The Truth behind Trapping" -
"The argument for ending animal trapping for profit, recreation or wildlife management."
Here is a link to learn more about the film: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/cull.html


Raccoon photo by S. Hillebrand

After the film we will discuss the recent approval by the SD Game, Fish and Parks Commission 
of the Nest Predator Bounty Program at $500,000 per year for 2 years, with a $10 bounty per tail and with a bounty on 
raccoons, skunks, opossums, red fox and badgers. This is based on a misguided belief this will help increase nesting success of ground nesting birds such as pheasants and ducks. The state in the past two years has spent about 2 million on bounties  and a  live trap free give-away. In 2021 the season will be April 1st-July 1st. In 2022 the season will be March 1st-July 1st, but the first month will be for youth only (under 18 years old), who can trap/hunt for free.  During the the program, youth will be given some free live traps.  (Scroll down web page for more information on this program)
 
Time permitting we will perhaps also discuss some of these topics - (more info on items 1-3 is in older posts - scroll down).
1.  The 2020 delisting of river otters and the 2019 river otter trapping/hunting season. 
2. SD beaver trapping and beaver conservation
3. Mountain Lion hunting and bobcat hunting/trapping.
4. Reforms to SDGFP Commission functions.

2nd HALF
The last third or half of the program will be updates on and discussion about the Black Hills National Forest  Final  General Technical Report titled "A Scenario-Based Assessment to Inform Sustainable Ponderosa Pine Timber Harvest on the Black Hills National Forest." 

The final report was issued on Tuesday 3/23/21.  BHNF had a webinar explaining the report on the morning of  April 7th.

To view or download the 4/7/21 webinar- where the report is explained: :  - https://vimeo.com/534976997





Old growth pine in the Sand Creek Roadless Area. Photo N Hilding

The Black Hills National Forest (BHNF) has released data from a Forest Inventory & Analysis that shows the BHNF is cutting trees faster than then forest growth replaces them. If current rate of cutting continues the live sawtimber volume will be depleted in the next several decades. To meet the current rate of cutting allowed by the Forest Plan, they need twice the standing live timber they have. The rate of cutting must be reduced to provide for a sustainable supply of timber, wildlife habitat, and other forest resources. Various laws require a sustainable logging program. 

Direct link to a report on this research released on 3/23/21 : -
 "A Scenario-Based Assessment to Inform Sustainable Ponderosa Pine Timber Harvest on the Black Hills National Forest"  
Link to many FS references on the overharvesting topic. 
At "Timber Stakeholder & Local Government Official Meetings" 
this  web site also has links to  recordings of 4 stakeholder meetings in April and May 2020 where issues are also explained/discussed: 
Link to Black Hills Forest Inventory Data
Here is February 2021 multi-party letter sent by PHAS and other groups and Oglala Sioux Tribe to the Forest Service
 about the overharvesting:
https://www.scribd.com/document/499857016/2021-02-16-BHNF-Regional-Office-Meet-Request-Re-BHNF-Sustained-Yield

  Link to recording of meeting: 
Passcode: LzW8z

 We had 4 meeting programs this past summer on the BHNF timber related issues and 
 April 29th will be an update/continued discussion   


August Meeting
 
by Zoom 
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 of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539284610
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September Meeting 
July 31st 
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. 
 Link to recording of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539394878


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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

 Link to recording of meeting:  https://vimeo.com/539354193

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MAY 29th  by Zoom
 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.
Link to his powerpoint
 Link to recording of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539407736


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Link to Norbeck Society videos about Black Hills National Forest

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Virtual meeting recording still on Zoom Cloud
Old meetings - History, recording still on cloud/vimeo

Prairie Hills Audubon Society
Monthly meetings are at the end of the month & use the same Zoom codes (recurring codes).

Prairie Hills Audubon Society
March Zoom Meeting
will be Cory Allen Heidelberger editor and publisher 
of  Dakota Free Press http://dakotafreepress.com
speaking about 



Initiative and Referendum in South Dakota 
What is the status of our right to initiative and referendum
 after years of monkeywrenching from the Legislature and court challenges.

Wednesday, March 31st, 6:30 pm MT
PHAS Facebook Notice of this event




Discussion:
        For the last decade some members of SD government have worked to erode SD initiative and referendum (I & R) rights, with bills, resolutions and/or court cases. Cory has been following SD politics as a blog editor and publisher for years and has been writing about this erosion of our initiative and referendum (I & R) rights.  In 2019 he led SD Voice in an effort to place an initiative on the ballot to redress some of the egregious changes to I & R, but SD Voice failed to get enough signatures by the deadline to place the initiative on the ballot. However Cory, SD Voice and their attorney Jim Leach filed litigation in federal court in summer of 2019 and won twice. Part of the litigation is not yet resolved. 
        Seeing four more bills/resolutions on I & R  passing this year; PHAS is concerned with this continuous erosion. We also see the legislature in past & present passing or attempting to pass laws to overturn public vote on initiatives. We see members of SD government suing in court to overturn initiatives the voters voted into law. 
       We have asked Cory to ­help us explore this history.  He will give us a 10 minute introduction and then we will go to question and answer.  We hope to learn what is currently and will soon be required of circulators and petition sponsors.  What hassles and threats do they face, that we didn’t in the old days?  We hope to learn about expected constitutional amendments and I & R petition efforts for this coming year. We hope to discuss what we can all do to be more effective defenders of and advocates for initiatives and referendum rights in SD. 

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Time:  Thursday, February 25th, 6:30 PM MT (History - But recording  is on Zoom Cloud -  recording will be removed on April 29th, briefly and transfered to Vimeo)
Topic:  Tribal Efforts to Conserve Biodiversity 
Speakers: Emily Boyd Valandra, Biologist, Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Dept. of Natural Resources - Game, Fish & Parks,
Shaun Grassel, PhD, Wildlife Biologist, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe’s Dept. of Wildlife, Fish & Recreation.

Learn about the challenges and successes in conserving biodiversity on tribal lands in South Dakota.

recording needs to be transferred to Vimeo
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Black-footed ferret photo by T Black

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PHAS's older virtual meeting recordings are stored on Vimeo
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JANUARY Meeting (Historic meetings- recording on Vimeo )
 
Time:  Wednesday, January 27th, 6:30 PM MT (History)
Topic: Audubon Dakota - State Office Update 
Speakers: Megan Carter, Audubon Dakota, 
The National Audubon Society's field office for SD & ND works on the restoration & conservation efforts at the Wolsey Crane Stopover Important Bird Area.  Audubon has community science projects across the country such as Audubon’s 121st Christmas Bird Count & the Winter 2021 Climate Watch survey (currently underway). Learn more about Audubon Dakota’s programs & how you can also help birds.  
Scroll down for Zoom details  
Link to recording of meeting https://vimeo.com/539435375


NOVEMBER PHAS ZOOM MEETING (Historic meetings- recording on Vimeo )
 
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.

Link to recording of meeting https://vimeo.com/534141563/4aa562697d
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OCTOBER MEETING by Zoom (((Historic - recording on Vimeo )
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.
 Link to recording of meeting::https://vimeo.com/539427498

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September Meeting ((Historic - recording on Vimeo )
July 31st 
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. 
 Link to recording of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539394878


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August Meeting by Zoom  (Historic - recording on Vimeo )
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 of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539284610
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July PHAS meeting by Zoom (Historic - recording on Vimeo )
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

 Link to recording of meeting:  https://vimeo.com/539354193

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MAY 29th  by Zoom ( (Historic - recording on Vimeo )
 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.
Link to his powerpoint
 Link to recording of meeting: https://vimeo.com/539407736


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 MARCH 31st by Zoom ( (Historic - recording on Vimeo )
Topic: Fight to Save the Greater Sage Grouse -  
Speaker:  Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project was the speaker
 Link to recording of meeting:  https://vimeo.com/539416766


HISTORIC MEETINGS 2020 & 2021

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HISTORIC
HISTORY recordings are not on the Zoom Cloud or Vimeo
we will slowly be posting these to vimeo .  The next 3  inches  is spent listing old meetings,  recordings are not yet on vimeo.


APRIL 29th (Historic)
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 

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)
 February 28th, - Face-to-face
 February's membership meeting was on GFP program on Nest Predator Bounty Program 
at West River Electric Co-op building, 

We helped co-sponsor a cracker barrel in Piedmont on the second Saturday of February 2020

OTHER PAST EVENTS

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 might be having on river otters, cougars, SDGFP  various plans such as NPBP, 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. 

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Field trips occur when announced - however likely won't happen till CDC improves outlook on Covid risk
 Board meetings are by conference call and members welcome. 
Contact - nhilding (at) rapidnet.com, 787-6779
We need new board members, contact Nancy if interested in service.

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We may shelter e-mail addresses by replacing @ with (at) 
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END  OF PHAS EVENTS SECTION
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BEGINNING OF Chronological list of events SECTION
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Brief index for next 2 parts
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LEGISLATURE was at Jan 12th, but moved to bottom of blog
After that is the rest of  Chronological section

Chronological section has
Chronological list of events
Blue text is passed, black text is  future.
YOU MUST SCROLL DOWN TO FIND tHIS SECTION

 
Chronological list of events
Blue text is passed, black text is  future.

 
 Audubon's Annual Photo Contest (will recycle next year at similar times)
Cracker Barrel List, Statewide, deleted
Great Backyard Bird Count (recycles annually) 
Advocates for the West Zoom Meeting - Sage Grouse (link to recording)
PHAS FEbruary meeting (link to recording)
SD GFP Comm. Feb Meet - Zoom Meeting - Nest Predator Bounty Program Appropriations Approval, (link to recording)
BHNF Freeland CE Comment Deadline (Timber sale)
BHAB&E Workshop (Zoom) (link to recording)
BHNF Simon CE Comment Deadline on (Timber sale)
Norbeck Society Meeting   (recording link will be posted)
GFP Photo Contest (new period will open)
Oil and Gas Leasing Forum  Dept of Interior, Virtual - supposed to be a recording,, but I can't find
World Water Day (there will be recording)
Comment Deadline - BHNF trail proposal near Rapid City
PHAS March meeting  (recording)
BHNF Webinar (there will be recording)
NAS children's Zoom meeting on Sage Brush Adventure
SDGFP Commission Meeting (there will be recording)
Norbeck Society Meeting (there will be recording)
2021 Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference
Earth Day & Earth Week
Bear Butte Forum
John James Audubon's Birthday
PHAS April meeting
BHNF Aspen & Pine CE Comment Deadline on (Timber sale)
Climate Watch
La Creek Field Trip?
Endangered Species Day 

And more
scroll down  past legislature section - to  get to chronological order section.
, where items are listed in chronological order.  
The Legislative section is long, but now at the bottom of blog

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March 25th, 2021

 Public forum on the Federal oil and gas program!



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The Black Hills National Forest (BHNF) has released data from a Forest Inventory & Analysis that shows the BHNF is cutting trees faster than then forest growth replaces them. If current rate of cutting continues the live sawtimber volume will be depleted in the next several decades. To meet the current rate of cutting allowed by the Forest Plan, they need twice the standing live timber they have. The rate of cutting must be reduced to provide for a sustainable supply of timber, wildlife habitat, and other forest resources. Various laws require a sustainable logging program. 


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The  Black Hills National Forest has done research and determined it is cutting pine trees faster than they can grow back...the cut is not sustainable.  
Direct link to a report on this research: Timber Growth and Yield Draft General Technical Report (TGYDGTR)

These actions are illegal, violating the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act and the National Forest Management Act.  In the future the Forest Service will need to change it's cutting rate. Future timber cutting scenarios proposed in the TGYDGTR do not reduce the cut fast enough or deep enough; they take years to reach timber sustainability and do not provide for sustainability of other values nor forbid logging on some lands that are unsuitable for logging nor do they forbid cutting young trees before their finish fastest growing period. 

 A not sustainable cut is not desirable, as viability of some wildlife species will be at risk and values such as some habitats, scenic quality, back country recreational  & 
water quality will be harmed.  The Forest has less than .5% old growth left, the Forest Plan says it was supposed to provide at least 5%. Some species at risk include the northern goshawk, brown creeper and  black backed woodpecker that need mature dense stands, and the pgmy nuthatch that needs large old yellow barks. The forest does not have money, or ways to generate revenue to pay for all the needed pre-commercial thinning of the huge area of understory baby pine trees.

The timber industry is very opposed to the necessary reduction in annual timber volume. 
They are busy lobbying our elected leaders.  Other forests have also had reports that found the forests had not-sustainable harvests. Several such reports were buried due to politics and never made it past draft form. We need the public to fully understand what has been discovered by the Forest Service, to listen to critiques of the analysis and to insist that politics does not bury this report and that the Forest Service commits to quickly reducing the annual harvest on the Black Hills to a level that is not just sustainable for commercial goals (i.e.: timber production) but also sustainable for wildlife habitat, scenery protection, back country recreation, water quality, soils etc.  The natural amenities of the forest that give us spiritual renewal and cause us to want to live near the BHNF, need to be valued & protected, not just it's  timber production valued.
 comprehensive article about the Black Hills timber situation was recently published:

Here is a link to the Forest Service's  (FS) web page on this topic:

  This web page has a discussion of the issues & lots of links to more data on this issue, including the Timber Growth and Yield Draft General Technical Report (TGYDGTR) and links to webinars from 4 FS meetings with stakeholders/local governments, some of which include power-points created by the FS & stakeholder groups on the issues. April 3rd & May 1st are virtual meetings the FS had with "timber stakeholders" - namely NGO environmental, timber industry & state government stakeholders. Environmentalists attending the 4/3/20 meeting were from Prairie Hills Audubon Society, The Norbeck Society, BHG of the Sierra Club. 



An ad hoc group of retired foresters was also represented. In May the Nature Conservancy was added as stakeholder. At least one future "timber stakeholder" meeting is planned. 
April 10th & May 15th are virtual meetings the FS had with the local government.
All 4 meetings are recorded,
A  link to the April 3rd meeting's  presentations and related documents 
(mostly saved as PDFs) is:
We recommend that you view power points from Bob Burns of the Norbeck Society, Jim Margadant of Sierra Club and Dave Mertz of retired foresters.
Webinar link
https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/pf84e9rqbh6f/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal&proto=true.

Quote from Abstract of the TGYDGTR:


"If the current (2019) annual sawtimber harvest of 153,534 CCF per year (CCF = 64 100 cubic feet) were to continue, the live sawtimber volume will be depleted in the next several decades. To meet the current  allowable sale quantity (ASQ) of 181,000 CCF as described in the  BHNF Plan, a standing live sawtimber volume of approximately 12 million CCF would be required. However, current standing live sawtimber volume is approximately 5.9 million CCF.  Furthermore, the current forest conditions in 2019 and probable growth and mortality estimates  suggest a saw timber program on the BHNF with an annual harvest of 70,000 to 115,000 CCF per year would be possible. Nevertheless, these harvest levels would allow the live sawtimber inventory amounts to increase to 6 million CCF in approximately 60 years and return to the level needed to support ASQ as identified in the current forest plan (181,000 CCF) within a century." (emphasis added)


Page 4 at lines 80 to 82 TGYDGTR says:

“All scenarios assume no harvest reduction for other resources (e.g., wildlife, botany, aquatics, and so on) or for Forest Plan adjustments. However, Black Hills National Forest (BHNF) may have restrictions that could alter the amount of area treated and the volumes removed.”

At lines 431 to 437 TGYDGTR says:

“Forest Plan constraints such as slope steepness, wildlife, recreation, grazing, or other values were not considered in the scenarios.”

Page 6 of the  TGYDGTR,  Lines 111-120, states

In 2019 the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (USDA 2019) identified 765,733 acres of timberland: (suitable), as forestland that is producing or is capable of producing 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood in natural stands and not withdrawn from timber utilization by statute or administrative regulation. Lands inaccessible and inoperable were included.”
(Emphasis added)
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To help understand terminology used  in timber management on the Black hills
                 Structural stages are any of several developmental stages of tree stands described in terms of tree size and the extent of canopy closure they create. In the Black Hills stands are inventoried and assigned to one of 9 structural stages: SS1, SS2, SS3A, SS3B, SS3C, SS4, SS4B,  SS4C,  SS5. Various wildlife are associated with older dense stands of live trees. Some are associated with large snags (large dead trees).

The Rocky Mountain Research Station (the research branch of the Forest Service), has a draft report out that analyzes a large data set showing the current level of logging on the Black Hills National Forest is unsustainable. Below find a direct link to a report on this research: Timber Growth and Yield Draft General Technical Report (TGYD-GTR)

           
  The BHNF has admitted it is cutting the pine trees at a faster rate than the trees can replace themselves. They have very little old growth (structural stage 5) left - less than1 percent (.6 percent) and an inadequate supply of one of their other structural stages for adult pine stands (SS4B) . If cutting continues at the current rate, they will run out of saw timber in about 30 years.


We worry about various species associated with dense forest conditions, older trees, large snags and fire/insects.  The northern goshawk, brown creeper and black backed woodpecker need mature dense stands and the black-backed woodpecker needs them as snags, burned by wildfire. Pygmy nuthatch needs older yellow barks and it and the Lewis woodpecker need larger snags. The silver haired bat and fringed myotis need large snags for maternity roosts.  The golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets need relatively dense older forests.  The northern flying squirrel and red squirrel need older, dense forests, at least mature stands. Pine Martins need connectivity corridors with 50% canopy closure.  Rare snails need forest cover (shade) and damp ground. Some big game need thermal cover in the winter.  

What tree habitat species need and which may be at risk if  the Black Hills National Forest loses it's older dense saw timber and old growth?       
===============

Excerpted slides from an April 2020 Powerpoint
 by Andrew Johnson of the Forest Service (BHNF)
 "How the FIA data and sustainability analysis relate to the Forest Plan and available timber "
Below are photos from Andrew Johnson's powerpoint 
and quotes from the Glossary of the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan 2006 - 
at pages Glossary -67-68
"DBH" stands for "diameter at breast height".

"Structural Stage 1 (Grass/Forb): The grass/forb stage was historically a product of
fires, windthrow or similar disturbances. Under forest management, this stage can be
created through harvesting. This stage is dominated by grasses and forbs lasting until
tree seedlings become established."

Structural Stage 2 (Shrub/Seedling): The shrub/seedling stage consists of shrubs
such as chokecherry, rose and serviceberry along with tree seedlings. A stand remains
in Stage 2 until the tree seedlings reach one inch diameter at breast height (DBH),
which should take less than a decade



Structural Stage 3 (Sapling/Pole): The sapling/pole stage consists of trees with
stems one to nine inches DBH. This stage typically persists up to 30 years to age 70.
Less than 40 percent canopy closure is 3A; 40 to less than 70 percent canopy closures
is 3B; and greater than 70 percent canopy closure is 3C. Understory production is
inversely related to overstory pine canopy cover.



Structural Stage 4 (Mature): The mature stage begins when trees reach the 9-inch
DBH class. Trees remain in this stage until they are about 160 years old. As with
Structural Stage 3, understory productivity depends upon the overstory canopy cover.
Less than 40 percent canopy closure is 4A; 40 to less than 70 percent canopy closures
is 4B; and greater than 70 percent canopy closure is 4C. The sizes of trees in this
stage will vary depending upon growing-site potential and the density of the stand.



Structural Stage 5 (Late Succession): This structural stage is characterized by very
large trees (16+ inches DBH). Trees are at least 160 years in age; ponderosa pine
that reach this age are commonly referred to as “yellow barks.” Late succession
ponderosa pine may occur in dense stands, but may also grow in the open or in “parklike”
stands (Mehl 1992).

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FEDERAL ACTIVITIES SECTION
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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
Nationwide:
 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;
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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. "
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Please note the report does not include income from "at home wildlife watching" - which is very significant in the federal study..

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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:
·        https://gfp.sd.gov/rawa/
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)
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 Endangered Species Act under Attack - Contact Congress
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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

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Trump Administration to delist wolves, 

Trump strips protections for endangered gray wolves

"Hunters and ranchers celebrate while conservationists say wolves will be hunted to extinction".


link to Washington Post article:


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Washington Post Article:

Tracking Biden’s environmental actions 

The new president is unwindingTrump’s legacy while forging his own

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2021/climate-environment/biden-climate-environment-actions/

"In just over three months, President Biden has begun to transform the nation’s energy and environmental landscape, according to a Washington Post analysis, by overturning 29 of former president Donald Trump’s policies and finalizing 19 of his own. From pausing new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters to rejoining the Paris climate agreement, Biden has elevated the issue of climate change across the U.S. government and signaled a shift away from fossil fuels."

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Washington Post article Trump rolls back 125 Environmental Regulations/Policies

Trump rolled back more than 125 environmental safeguards. Here’s how.

"The administration has allowed more pollution, drilling and logging
while weakening protections for animals such as bees, bears and birds"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/climate-environment/trump-climate-environment-protections/?itid=hp-more-top-stories

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