January Meeting Minutes
Island Park EMS Building
Ken Watts IPPC Chairman
Terry DeLong IPPC Treasurer
Trent Yancey Fall River Rural Electric
Luke Davis Idaho Farm Bureau
Zak Miller Idaho Farm Bureau
Leanne Yancey IPPC Research
Bob and Ellen Stantus
Dave Moore IP Community
Perry and Rosemary Thompson retired USPS
Joe Salinsky IP Sustainable Fire
Ann Anthony IP News
Connie Funkhauser IP Community and Trails
Greg Bitter IPPC Co-Chairman
FC Commissioners: Jordan Stoddard and LeRoy Miller
Liz Davey USFS
Kathryn Hitch Regional Rep. Senator Crapo’s Office
Chairman, Ken Watts called the meeting to order at 6 PM.
The IPPC November meeting minutes and Treasurer’s report were moved to the end of the meeting in the interest of time and courtesy. IDFG Greg Losinski, from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game was allowed to go first to allow for his return travel to Idaho Falls. The presentation will be available on the IPPC website.
IDFG presentation Summary:
Maps and data of at least 10 different studies of the IP Caldera/Henrys Fork Caldera, the system runs into Yellowstone National Park.
Game and non-game species “HOOF IS THE HEART” different herd migration study areas. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are all considered in the same region and Conservation Commissions from these areas call ‘all of the shots’.
Case in point, the grizzly bear; all must work together to connected habitats and migrations, the recovery, and now the delisting potential. They have developed a formula, an inter-agency approach…the next 5 years will be a ‘big deal’ and they all must work closely together.
Migration on to the Centennial Mountain Range
Studies concentrate primarily on the elk, deer, moose, and pronghorn and grizzly bear data. Not much in the way of black bear data, lynx, or wolverine.
To gain data they greatly use collaring techniques. Collaring happens at Sand Creek and the winter/spring grounds. Migratory map 2005-2009.
High Point is a staging point, also Harriman State Park to Sand Creek and on to the Lower Desert. The Lower Desert / Juniper migration happens after December. The Henry’s Lake migration moves to the Centennials and toward Ennis.
*deer range widely in primarily family units, they have both learned and adapted behavior, general range 50-60 miles
*the IP zone, elk=3000-4000 animals
*weather for all is a huge factor
*deer like standing water and even in winter you will see them in it
*winter range map average 3000 elk and deer on the desert in winter
*elk study-collar calves at the birthing grounds
*other species interact at this time, bears (both grizz and black) also know these traditional birthing spots and recognize the opportunity for them there, one job of the IFG is to figure out how to keep them from coming there
*Overall numbers, Idaho have too many elk, there is a depravation hunt on right now in the Little Lost River
*our local herd the numbers are down, IP unit bull to cow ratio is struggling
*IFG feeding programs help keep the elk out of trouble in winter
*stage food for both elk and deer if necessary, once feeding begins it must continue for the rest of the winter. Challenge: in any given winter young mortality numbers expected can range between 40-50%, this hard winter, maybe 80%.
*Our Idaho herd is known as the Largest Wintering Moose Herd in the United States/World
*500-600 moose average winter on the Idaho desert North of St. Anthony
“this is not textbook generality” it is “historically recorded” data back to 1930’-1940’s
*as a species success story we have seen decades and decades of building this herd
*lose more moose to vehicle death on Hwy 20 than animal hunting harvest
*will not speak to the safe passage initiative being proposed, did not participate in that study
*hard to tell where ‘THE hot spot” is, better to just say that Island Park is ‘the hotspot’.
*antelope, a known corridor is Reynold’s Pass and back and forth on Henry’s Lake and Flat. IFG does not study them a lot
*2008 the data on lynx sightings is not extensive, they know that this is their habitat, food sources are here (snowshoe rabbits/hare) so there is potential for that species to be here
*wolverine are a very difficult species to study and there is not a lot of research data available. They know of 2 females in the area of The Tetons, first there were 2 and then they could only document 1, they have incredible ranges. There is not much historical data available on this species and it is reasoned that their densities are not all that high.
*swans are a state level of concern species. There are two types, the Trumpeter and ‘The Whistler” or Tundra swan here. Idaho does not have a hunting season for them, Utah does for Tundra. The two are hard to distinguish between. The tri-state population is ‘iffy’, they are doing better in other states, open water is key for their success and The Henry’s Fork freezes in winter months. Signets have been adopted successfully to other species to build their numbers. Fremont County/Harriman is important to these birds here, 1 pair has taken a particular liking to ‘our lake”.
*wolves, last year was the last year of in-depth monitoring, they are no longer listed as endangered and their numbers are now being broken down to management policy. Area (see pack map) which does not extend into their southern range. In IP area there are 8 packs being monitored, of these 5 packs are moving between states. 8 wolves have been harvested, 6 lost to depredation, 1 to human caused loss. (see monitoring summary).
Grizzly bear, so new a bill toward there management was just printed yesterday. Some parts of the old management policy will need to be changed. The inter-agency recommendation was for delisting as all 2004 goals were met, this action will guarantee that that judgment will be challenged. Grizzly has achieved recovery number of bears-health of the bears in the eco-system-linkage through migration-and healthy habitat to maintain the population numbers.
They have learned behavior and remember from year to year the gut piles and food opportunities. They utilize the entire eco-system. Idaho has the smallest population-then Montana-then Wyoming with the greatest. They have been fitted with new monitoring collars that transmit every 70 minutes, they give very specific data which will make future management policy more perfect. Grizzly numbers have saturated the eco-system, we are ‘maxed out’ and it is now time to thin and mange the species. We have bears living until they lose their teeth and can no longer hunt-they must forage and that is when they become problem bears.
*there are a dozen collar studies in IP, this is the area where they ‘hook-up’ for obvious reasons, they are here for that reason and then range far so it is hard to determine a static number of grizzlies in IP.
*Seasonal drives will determine where they are, we are seeing younger bears killed by older ones-bears that kill cubs to bring sows into heat, territorial bears (established bears) who do not range also cause trouble.
*we all must work hard to educate people about the grizzly, tourists are a challenge
*on a given day 50,000 people can visit Yellowstone, they stay (over-night/lodge) in our area, it is hard to educate such a diverse group, education is the best tool to avoid human/bear trouble. For the most part, bears will avoid trouble.
*new/improved food storage containers are available , know the rules on every forest if you are planning to travel there
black bear, we do not keep collar data, statewide harvest numbers are about 2000 per year which indicates the species numbers are healthy
*IFG does not monitor or keep large analysis data on mountain lions
Species number controls:
*Seasons for hunting and regulations have to consider both the animal herd health and the money and revenue involved in the sport and economy of hunting. There is a balance that must be achieved and maintained between the two.
*Winter controls all animal populations
*maintaining healthy habitat
*watching all numbers, a good sign is seeing migration to winter range, shows the herd number is healthy
*wolves get Parvo just like dogs
*the introduction of the wolf has caused a larger dispersion/re-distribution of the other species they pray upon
Mr Losinski is our local officer, he also named another and said that his office is situated in Idaho Falls where he always welcomes the public to engage, ask questions, share concerns/information. He was happy to speak with us tonight as part of that important role.
The group thanked Mr Losinski for the fine presentation.
Meeting minutes from last meeting approved
Financial report 12-31-16 bank balance $3976.19
IPPC needs to anticipate web-site renewal fee of approx.. $100 by next meeting
WHOOHOOO…we were not designated!
The political environment is now different and we need to anticipate and plan for that.
Senator Crapo’s staff is working hard on the effort to change The Antiquities Act, Mitch silver reported to Ken and Commissioner Miller has also had that information confirmed.
Good news, but remember history has not been kind to curtailing federal power.
How for IPPC to best move forward, thoughts were offered:
*About the potential for AA repeal or replace
*policy against any new federal designation in IP
*are we at a pivot point?
*we need to always include local conversation
*the Idaho delegation and also the community are looking to us
*we must pursue the cooperation of the delegation in our efforts
*consider these terms-diversity, commonality, volunteer group, a charter, formulate our plan, ‘be recognizable’. Commissioner Miller offered that the IPPC group has become a valuable asset for their commission and that they have welcomed our advisory role and appreciate the ability of this group to be a working group for the County that can help to vet and look into issues. Appreciates our environment of cooperation, diversity, and the work that can be done here.
*mission statement, a charter?
*cooperative approach, core standards, federation?
*is there more value and flexibility in loose organization?
*we need to remember that all of our documentation/activity should be able to be built upon/Perry feels that it is very important that all of our work here be committed to a document
*a stewardship policy document
*we strongly maintain that we do not wish for a ‘cookie cutter policy’ from Washington D.C. that will dictate to us
All thoughts were discussed or introduced only briefly, and the group agreed to assume a homework assignment to bring their thoughts and ideas to the table for the next meeting.
Notes: L.Yancey for Judy Kohle (absent)