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Muleys among champs of mammalian migrations

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Rockies Today

November 14 · Issue #35 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

Muleys among champs of mammalian migrations
Recently, an international team of researchers set out to determine which terrestrial mammals migrate the farthest, and just how incredible their journeys are. They published a ranking last month in Scientific Reports. A group of mule deer that travel from the Red Desert of Wyoming to Island Park, Idaho, ranks No. 4. Caribou top the list.
Caribou, wolves, mule deer among international champs of mammalian migrations Caribou, wolves, mule deer among international champs of mammalian migrations
Whaleseelsbirds, and even ladybugs are known for epic migrations that take them hundreds or even thousands of miles through the air and across the sea.
But the land has its fair share of long-distance travelers, too. Recently, an international team of researchers set out to determine which terrestrial mammals migrate the farthest, and just how incredible their journeys are. They published a ranking last month in Scientific Reports.
Caribou, those stately ungulates from North America, have “long been credited with the world’s longest migration,” said Kyle Joly, a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service who studies caribou, and the study’s lead author. But for decades, that claim relied on a single paper. “It really hadn’t been validated very robustly,” Dr. Joly said.
He decided it was time to double check — and to “see if there’s another animal out there that might take the crown,” he said. He and his collaborators started asking around for data sets, and amassed dozens from across the globe. They measured each distance as the crow flies, from where the animals started to where they ended up, and then back again.
Reaction from the Wyoming Migration Initiative:
Wyoming mule deer make #4 longest land mammal migration globally Wyoming mule deer make #4 longest land mammal migration globally
The original reporting in 2018 on deer #255 by the Casper Star-Tribune:
Epic Wyoming mule deer migration documented again, confirming the longest path in the world
More wildlife news:
Northwest Montana grizzly deaths spur pushback
Warning system can reduce wildlife killed by trains, research finds
First confirmed case of CWD in moose in Montana
BLM considers CO2 pipeline in Wyoming
BLM considers 2,000-mile CO2 pipeline proposal, sage grouse impact BLM considers 2,000-mile CO2 pipeline proposal, sage grouse impact
The Bureau of Land Management will soon begin an environmental review of a plan to build 2,000 miles of pipelines to carry carbon dioxide across federal land in Wyoming, potentially damaging greater sage-grouse habitat.
The BLM plans to simultaneously update nine federal land management plans in Wyoming to accommodate the pipelines, according to a notice scheduled to be published Nov. 15 in the Federal Register.
The Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative is a state-proposed project that would provide rights of way up to 300 feet wide for pipelines that would supply oil fields with carbon dioxide to boost crude oil production. The pipelines would be built across federal land managed by the BLM.
The BLM’s environmental review of the proposal will consider how the pipeline corridors will affect the greater sage-grouse, air quality, big game and other environmental issues.
The state expects the pipelines to help oil companies produce up to 1.8 billion barrels of oil in Wyoming. Wyoming is the nation’s eighth largest oil producer. About 88 million barrels of crude oil were produced there in 2018.
The project potentially could sequester up to 20 trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide. The backers aren’t saying specifically what the source of the carbon dioxide would be.
Court rulings force BLM to halt leases
Citing sage-grouse ruling, Colorado BLM yanks federal oil, gas leases from December sale Citing sage-grouse ruling, Colorado BLM yanks federal oil, gas leases from December sale
Oil and gas leases proposed on about 4,200 acres of public land in Colorado have been yanked from a sale planned for December because of a court ruling on federal conservation plans for greater sage grouse.
The Colorado Bureau of Land Management said on its website Wednesday that the six parcels up for lease in Jackson, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties “will be reconsidered for a future sale” because of a preliminary injunction issued Oct.16 by U.S District Judge Lynn Winmill in Boise, Idaho.
The ruling temporarily suspends the Trump administration’s changes to plans the Obama administration approved in 2015 to protect greater sage grouse, whose numbers have been dropping for decades across the West, including in Colorado. The revised plans, finalized in March, removed restrictions on development on millions of acres of land across 10 states.
Colorado BLM spokesman Jayson Barangan said in an email that the agency “is considering the impacts, if any,” on federal oil and gas leases approved in September.
More from E&E News:
BLM halts leases after sage grouse, climate legal brawls
Federal officials have withdrawn thousands of acres of land slated for sale to the oil and gas industry after courts demanded that the government take a closer look at greater sage grouse habitat protections and climate change impacts.
Conservation groups opposing the Bureau of Land Management’s actions say a recent slate of deferred lease sales in Colorado, Nevada and Utah illustrate the problems with the Trump administration’s aggressive push to encourage energy development on public lands.
“The broader pattern we’ve seen from this administration has been a headlong rush to get as much remaining sage grouse habitat under lease as possible,” said Michael Saul, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s public lands program.
He said the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” approach has led BLM to violate federal laws like the National Environmental Policy Act.
“That needs to stop,” Saul said. “They are not simply a real estate sales agency. Under congressional statute, they have multiple obligations, which include duties to conserve wildlife habitat.”
BLM yesterday added to its growing list of delayed leases when it deferred its Dec. 19 Colorado sale in response to a federal court order temporarily blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s greater sage grouse plan.
More on the leases pulled in Utah:
Trump administration suspends oil and gas production on 130 plots in Utah after challenge
'Climate whiplash'
Wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise Wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise
These wild swings from one weather extreme to another are symptomatic of a phenomenon, variously known as “climate whiplash” or “weather whiplash,” that scientists say is likely to increase as the world warms. The intensity of wildfires these days in places like California are a symptom of climate change, experts say, but the whiplash effect poses a different set of problems for humans and natural systems. Researchers project that by the end of this century, the frequency of these abrupt transitions between wet and dry will increase by 25 percent in Northern California and as much as double in Southern California if greenhouse gasses continue to increase.
“There has been an assumption that the main thing we have to contend with climate change is increased temperatures, decreased snowpack, increased wildfire risk” on the West Coast, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Those things are still true, but there is this other dimension we will have to contend with — the increased risk of extreme flood and drought, and rapid transitions between the two.”
Meanwhile…
Climate change and health: report warns warming will affect 'every single stage' of a child’s life
Documenting hate
Federal hate crimes report underscores Wyoming's lack of enforcement, data collection Federal hate crimes report underscores Wyoming's lack of enforcement, data collection
The U.S. Commission on Human Rights released its long-awaited report on hate crimes in America this week, underscoring the issue of prejudice-fueled violence and rhetoric at a time where the number of reported hate crimes has swollen across the country.
The more than 300-page report—released Wednesday by the federal government—shows that bigotry-fueled speech and violence in America has exploded recently, with double-digit increases reported in all three years following the 2016 election. Though the number of reported hate crimes saw a slight decrease last year, according to the latest numbers released Tuesday by the FBI, the number of violent offenses like intimidation, assault and homicide rose to a 16-year high: an indication of a bolder trend taking place.
“Available evidence suggests hate crimes are increasing in America,” the report reads. “Many Americans are negatively impacted by hate crimes and are fearful of the heightened expression of hate and bigotry in the United States.”
And the problem could be worse: According to the report, gathering accurate national estimates of the prevalence of hate crimes “remains complicated,” largely due to voluntary reporting processes that can mean many crimes go unreported. In 2017, roughly 12 percent of the more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide did not submit hate crime data to the FBI while numerous intangible factors – including a lack of training or mistrust of law enforcement – can leave many crimes in the shadows.
“The numbers currently kept by the FBI are largely useless,” Roy Austin, a former deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, was quoted as saying in the report.
This is particularly an issue in places like Wyoming, which not only does not require its agencies to report hate crimes to the FBI, but is one of just four states in the country without some form of hate crime statute – further muddying the prevalence of hate crimes in those states.
More reporting by Reynolds on hate in Wyoming:
Wyoming sets out to document hate in the Equality State
Meanwhile, in Colorado…
Hate crimes in Colorado went up 16 percent in 2018
What else we're reading today
Book explores 600 generations of Native culture in Montana
Glenwood without springs? Mountain town mobilizes against mine expansion
Navajo company confident about Wyoming, Montana coal bonding
Wondering how The Salt Lake Tribune got 501(c)(3) status? Here’s their entire application to the IRS—and the IRS’s response
Extreme broadcasting in Alaska
US tribe objects to Dakota Access oil pipeline expansion
US tribe objects to Dakota Access oil pipeline expansion
Rockies Today is edited by Matthew Frank, Fellow in Regional Journalism at the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812