Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk at 10000 Birds

by Larry on February 11, 2015

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Juvenile photo by Larry Jordan

Check out my latest West Coast Beat Writer over at 10000 Birds. I found this juvenile Red-shoulderd Hawk on the auto tour route at Sacramento NWR and shot some great video of the bird preening as well as some close up photos!

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Costs And Consequesnces

WASHINGTON— A new analysis finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land. Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land. Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

The study, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, comes as the Obama administration prepares Friday to announce grazing fees for the upcoming year on 229 million acres of publicly owned land, most of it in the West. The report was prepared by economists on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Public lands grazing has been a billion-dollar boondoggle over the past decade and hasn’t come close to paying for itself,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Livestock owners pay less to graze their animals on publicly owned land in 2014 than they did in 1981. Today the monthly cost of allowing a cow and calf to graze on federal lands is about the equivalent of a can of dog food. This damaging and expensive grazing program has been broken for years and needs to be fixed. Taxpayers, and the land we all own, deserve better.”

The gap between federal grazing fees and non-irrigated private land rates has widened considerably, according to the study. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service grazing fees are $1.35 per month per animal unit (a cow and a calf), just 6.72 percent of what it would cost to graze livestock on private grazing lands. This is a marked decline from the federal fee being 23.79 percent of non-irrigated private rates when the federal fee first went into effect in 1981.

“The fees for grazing on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands needs to be seriously reevaluated,” said Christine Glaser, an economist with GreenFire Consulting and author of the report. “Over the past three decades the fee formula has clearly decoupled public grazing fees from the development of private, state and other federal agencies grazing fees. Bottom line, this formula shields public lands ranchers from grazing rate increases that every other livestock operator has to live with.”

There are about 800,000 livestock operators and cattle producers in the United States. Of those, fewer than 21,000 — or 2.7 percent of the nation’s total livestock operators — benefit from the Forest Service and BLM grazing programs in the West.

“The Public Rangeland Improvement Act subsidizes a small segment of the livestock industry,” said the study’s co-author and former Interior Department economist Chuck Romaniello. “There needs to be a discussion as to what the appropriate level of that subsidy should be, including if there should be a subsidy at all.”

The federal subsidy of the grazing program goes beyond the direct costs and fees. There are vast indirect costs to grazing on federal lands, including the government killing of native carnivores perceived as threats to wildlife, wildfire suppression caused by invasive cheat grass facilitated by cattle grazing, and expenditure of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds from protecting other species threatened by livestock grazing. “The full cost of the federal grazing program is long overdue for a complete analysis,” the study said.

One of the main reasons I believe there should be no livestock grazing on public lands is because of the government killing of native carnivores perceived as threats to the cattle. You can read the full report here.

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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All Three Populations of North American Trumpeter Swans Are Increasing

January 28, 2015
Trumpeter Swan Adult and Immature

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) Adult and Immature – photo by Larry Jordan Check out my latest West Coast Beat Writer post on the Trumpeter Swans I saw at Chico’s Oxidation Ponds last week! Click on photo for full sized image. Did you like this? Share it:

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illUmiNations: Protecting our Planet – A World of Solutions

January 19, 2015
Illuminations

The United Nations Department of Public Information, Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), founded by photographer and Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos (THE COVE), Obscura Digital, a creative technology studio that has staged multi-sensory media experiences all over the globe, and Fisher Stevens, Academy Award-winning Producer of THE COVE, lit up the United Nations headquarters in a […]

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Tell President Obama: It’s time to reject KXL once and for all!

January 9, 2015
Keystone XL Pipeline Dissent

President Obama has made it clear that Keystone XL can’t be in our national interest — and thus must be rejected — if it increases carbon pollution and makes climate change worse. It has always been clear that Keystone XL will do just that. In 2014 alone, three major tar sands projects were canceled because […]

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My Favorite Bird Photos of 2014

December 30, 2014
Snow Goose Landing

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) photos by Larry Jordan At the end of each year I like to go back and look at the bird photographs I have taken and choose the ones I like the best for a “favorite bird photo” post. I try to pick at least one photograph from each month however some […]

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Wildlife-killing Contests Targeting Nongame Animals Banned by California Fish and Game Commission

December 6, 2014
Coyote

Coyote photo by Robin Silver VAN NUYS, Calif.— In response to overwhelming public support for banning wildlife-killing contests, the California Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to adopt regulations prohibiting hunting “derbies” targeting species such as coyotes, raccoons and badgers. The ban came after thousands of Californians expressed opposition to the killing competitions. “We’re grateful […]

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Lawsuit Challenges Idaho’s Cruel Wildlife-killing Contest

November 18, 2014
Coyote Dead on Fence

BLM Approves Unprecedented 5-year Permit to Allow Killing Contests for Wolves, Coyotes, Weasels, Rabbits, Skunks and Others BOISE, Idaho— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today asking a judge to halt an annual, privately sponsored wild animal killing contest that was granted a five-year permit by the Idaho Bureau of Land Management. Recalling Idaho’s infamous bunny-killing […]

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Swainson’s Hawks Are Threatened in California

October 22, 2014
Thumbnail image for Swainson’s Hawks Are Threatened in California

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) photo by Larry Jordan The Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) is listed as threatened in California. Its numbers have declined significantly in parts of the western United States; and in the western Canadian prairie, reproduction of the Swainson’s Hawk has dropped since the mid-1980s, following a decline in its main prey species, Richardson’s […]

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How Wolves Change Rivers

September 27, 2014
Howling Wolf

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The Bank Swallow Is On the List of Common Birds in Steep Decline

September 24, 2014
Bank Swallow

Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) photo by Larry Jordan As part of the recently released 2014 State of the Birds Report the Bank Swallow is listed as one of the common birds in steep decline. The report identifies 33 species that do not meet the Watch List criteria but are declining rapidly in many areas. These […]

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Nearly Half of Our Birds Are at Risk of Extinction This Century

September 10, 2014
Common Loon

The National Audubon Society’s Birds and Climate Change Report should give us all deep cause for concern. The findings are heartbreaking: Nearly half of the bird species in the United States will be seriously threatened by 2080, and any of those could disappear forever. For the first time, Audubon scientists have analyzed decades of historical […]

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Huckleberry Wolf Pack Loses One of Their Own – 2012 Revisited

August 27, 2014
Stop Killing Wolves

One member of the Huckleberry Wolf Pack in Stevens County Washington confirmed killed. A press release from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) which stated “Personnel from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife continued their effort today to find and remove up to four wolves from a pack that has killed at least […]

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Mountain Chickadees Showing Off at 10000 Birds

August 27, 2014
Mountain Chickadee Nestling

Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) photo by Larry Jordan Check out my latest West Coast Beat Writer post over at 10000 Birds on the Mountain Chickadee. It includes several photos of the adult birds as they come in to feed the nestling pictured above. I also included a HD YouTube Video showing great close ups of this […]

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