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WILLIAMS GAS PLANT FIRE UPDATE: Thursday, April 24, 9:00AM, Williams LP reports that all employees are accounted for and there were no injuries in the explosion and fire at their natural gas processing facility near Opal, Wyoming (Lincoln County) around 2PM yesterday afternoon. The facility was immediately shut down and emergency procedures were activated. All personnel were safely evacuated from the facility and residents in nearby small town of Opal were evacuated to temporary lodging. The fire is being allowed to burn itself out. Traffic on US 30 and WYO 240 being diverted. Sweetwaternow.com has updated coverage and links to photos: Williams gas Opal plant explosion. KSL News (Salt Lake) has video coverage here. See related story below for news release from WilliamsLP.   
Lions Easter Egg Hunt A big crowd of eager kids gathered at the Pinedale Boyd Skinner Park on Saturday, April 19th for the annual Pinedale Lions Easter Egg Hunt. Eager kids and their families filled Town Park and cleaned up 200 pounds of candy within minutes. The Easter Bunny made a special appearance and posed for photos with the kids. Click here for Lions Easter Egg Huntmore pictures (7 photos) Photo by Miindi Crabb.
The Grand Opening of 4-H Barn
The Grand Opening of 4-H Barn was held on Tuesday, April 15. The event was co-sponsored by the University of Wyoming Extension and Sublette County 4-H to recognize the donors who helped make the new community livestock barn possible. Wyoming Governor Mead, Sublette County Commissioners, and the University of Wyoming were on hand to thank QEP for their investment in Sublette County’s youth and our agricultural heritage. The new livestock barn is located at the Rose Skinner 4-H Preserve, which is located approximately 2 miles south of Pinedale Immediately south of QEP’s Office. A reception followed the ceremony. Click on this link for more photos (20 pictures). Photo by Pinedale Online.
Gas Prices
April 13, 2014
Pinedale3.699
Big Piney3.499
Wyoming3.430
USA3.635
Regular unleaded average.
WY & US provided by AAA.
Diesel Prices
April 13, 2014
Pinedale4.399
Big Piney4.339
Wyoming4.026
USA3.959
WY & US provided by AAA.
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Pinedale Local:

‘Rolls with the Mayor’ April 25th
St. John’s Home Health & Hospice Job Fairs in Sublette Co April 29 & 30
Container Gardening Workshop April 24
‘Meet the Candidate’ for Sarah Hunt April 26
Pinedale High School National Honor Society Donkey Basketball April 29
Pinedale Candidate Forum May 1st
Pinedale Class of 2014 Lasagna Dinner May 1
PFAC's Black Tie & Blues May 3rd
Wind River Riders 14th Annual Open Horse Show May 3rd
SCRHCD Special Budget meeting April 30
‘Meet the Candidate’ social for Michael Kudar April 25th
Funeral Service for Mary Brabant April 25
DEQ to hold Winter Ozone Season open house May 22
‘Meet the Candidate’ social for Matt Murdock April 26
Lions Easter Egg Hunt in Pinedale
2014 Election update
Pinedale hockey players part of team that takes win in Big Sky State Games
SAFV Task Force Annual Spring Luncheon April 24

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Events: Click for event information
April 26: McKenzie Meningitis Volleyball Tournament - At the Wrangler Gym in Pinedale. For more information contact Paige Harrell 307-231-2526 or email pharrell@centurylink.net.
May 2 & 3: Sublette County Cabin Fever Concert & Spring Fair - Concert, Home & Garden Show, Health Fair at the Sublette County Fairgrounds. Concert Friday night at 7PM with Charley Jenkins and Dyer Highway, tickets $10, kids 5 & under free. Saturday pring Fair from 10AM to 3PM and the Health Fair is from 10AM to 1PM.

May 3: PFAC Black Tie & Blues - PFAC fundraiser, at the Boulder Community Center, 3:30PM. Live music, food, drinks, and our own version of the Kentucky Derby with local teams competing. Tickets go on sale April 1st and are $40 per person. They can be purchased online at www.pinedalefinearts.com at both Office Outlets (Pinedale & Big Piney) or at the PFAC office.
June 28: Big Piney/Marbleton Airport 2nd annual Fly-In and Car Show - Free breakfast and come watch the planes and look over the cars. The airport is located just south of the Sublette County Fairgrounds on US 189. For more information call Phil Stevens 307-276-3461.
July 10-13, 2014: Green River Rendezvous Days - Four days of celebrations, historical talks, parade, live music, great food, rodeos, Green River Rendezvous Pageant, lots more. Click here for more info.
July 13, 2014: Green River Rendezvous Pageant - 1:00PM at the Pinedale Rendezvous Grounds. Elaborate live production with a large cast of locals playing parts. Mountain Men, Indians, Missionaries, wagons, horses, tipis, lots of action telling the story of Rendezvous. Don't miss it! www.MeetMeontheGreen.com

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Pinedale Online is Pinedale, Wyoming on the web. We give our viewers, locals and out-of-area visitors, a "slice of life" snapshot window into our world view of what is happening in Pinedale. Visit us for current local news on what is happening, photos of local events, links to area businesses and services and more. We are long-time area residents and are happy to answer questions if you are planning a visit to our area.

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Wolf Watch, by Cat Urbigkit

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Media release from Williams Partners regarding Opal gas plant explosion and fire (posted 4/23/14)
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Williams Partners Shuts Down Opal., Wyo., Gas Processing Facility After Explosion and Fire; No Injuries

Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) and Williams (NYSE:WMB) reported an explosion and fire at approximately 2 p.m. Mountain Time at their natural gas processing facility in Lincoln County, Wyo., near the town of Opal. There were no reported injuries or damage to property outside the facility.

The facility was immediately shut down and emergency procedures were activated. All personnel were safely evacuated from the facility. First-responders evacuated an area that includes the town of Opal and closed Highway 30 in proximity to the plant. Williams is making accommodations for the displaced residents.

The company's top priority right now is ensuring the safety of our employees and surrounding community, as well as cooperating with the local authorities and regulatory agencies.

Natural-gas gathering from surrounding producing areas is temporarily suspended as a result of the incident. The company is evaluating alternatives so that natural gas production can resume as soon as possible.

The Opal facility processes natural gas gathered from wells in the area in preparation for interstate natural gas pipeline transport. It also produces natural gas liquids from the natural gas. The Opal plant has an inlet capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Recent daily volumes have been approximately 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The incident is known to have affected TXP-3, one of the five cryogenic processing trains that comprise the Opal facility. It is too early to determine the extent of damage to the facility or a timeline for return to service. Once it is safe to return to the plant, Williams will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident in cooperation with regulators.

About Williams (NYSE: WMB)
Williams is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns interests in or operates 15,000 miles of interstate gas pipelines, 1,000 miles of NGL transportation pipelines, and more than 10,000 miles of oil and gas gathering pipelines. The company's facilities have daily gas processing capacity of 6.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas, NGL production of more than 200,000 barrels per day and domestic olefins production capacity of 1.35 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene per year. Williams owns approximately 66 percent of Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ), one of the largest diversified energy master limited partnerships. Williams Partners owns most of Williams' interstate gas pipeline and domestic midstream assets. Williams also owns Canadian operations and certain domestic olefins pipelines assets, as well as a significant investment in Access Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ACMP), a midstream natural gas services provider. The company's headquarters is in Tulsa, Okla. For more information, visit www.williams.com, where the company routinely posts important information

About Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ)
Williams Partners L.P. is a leading diversified master limited partnership focused on natural gas transportation; gathering, treating, and processing; storage; natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionation; and oil transportation. The partnership owns interests in three major interstate natural gas pipelines that, combined, deliver 14 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States. The partnership's gathering and processing assets include large-scale operations in the U.S. Rocky Mountains and both onshore and offshore along the Gulf of Mexico. Williams (NYSE: WMB) owns approximately 66 percent of Williams Partners, including the general-partner interest. More information is available at www.williamslp.com, where the partnership routinely posts important information.

Portions of this document may constitute "forward-looking statements" as defined by federal law. Although the company believes any such statements are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that actual outcomes will not be materially different. Any such statements are made in reliance on the "safe harbor" protections provided under the Private Securities Reform Act of 1995. Additional information about issues that could lead to material changes in performance is contained in the company's annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Williams Partners
Media Contact:
Tom Droege, 918-573-4034
or
Investor Contacts:
John Porter, 918-573-0797
or
Sharna Reingold, 918-573-2078

Source: http://www.williamslp.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?ResLibraryID=69554&BzID=1296&g=345&Nav=0&LangID=1&s=0

Related Links:
Williams Gas in Opal suffers explosion; Town evacuated www.sweetwaternow.com
KSL video news reports Salt Lake City news, Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Eleven Wyoming wolves killed (posted 4/22/14)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Since the start of 2014, eleven wolves have been taken in Wyoming's predator zone (through April 16), according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

In the 2103 wolf trophy hunting season, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports that a total of 24 wolves were taken in the fall 2013 trophy wolf hunt (of a total quota of 26). In addition, 39 wolves were harvested in the predator zone in 2013.

In 2012, 42 wolves were killed in Wyoming's trophy game areas (of a total quota of 52), while 25 were taken in the predator zone of the state.

Related Links:
Wyoming Game & Fish Department - Wolf Harvest information here.
Wolf Watch - By Cat Urbigkit


DEQ releases update to Ozone Strategy (posted 4/22/14)
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
Today (Tuesday, April 22, 2014), the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Air Quality Division (AQD) released the update to the Ozone Strategy for the Upper Green River Basin (UGRB).

The AQD developed this Ozone Strategy in response to the nonattainment designation in the UGRB in March 2013. The strategy is intended to be a living and ever evolving document.

According to Todd Parfitt, DEQ Director, there is a logical sequence of events within the strategy starting with shorter term elements, to be able to establish a foundation and move forward to take on more substantial, longer-term elements. Since its first release, the completion of elements from the Ozone Strategy are all important in continuing to build the foundation to help bring the UGRB back into ozone attainment.

Since finalizing the initial version of the Ozone Strategy 13 months ago, the DEQ has accomplished a great deal, 19 elements of the Ozone Strategy have been completed, including the following:

1. The Oil & Gas Best Available Control technology (BACT) Guidance was updated and leak detection and repair (LDAR) for new and modified sources was incorporated.

2. The rulemaking for an Ozone Emissions Inventory Rule has been completed.

3. Rulemaking has been completed to incorporate New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) related to the oil and gas industry.

4. A consultant was hired to test closed top water tanks for emissions.

5. A plan was developed to assess the control effectiveness of combustors and quantify emissions from fugitive sources in the UGRB, with hiring a consultant underway.

A few of the highlights of this newly updated Ozone Strategy are focusing on rulemaking, better access to emissions information, and field studies through:

1. A technology based rule, which is a Phase I control strategy and regulatory option to reduce emissions from existing upstream and midstream oil and gas sources, while preserving the current New Source Review permitting process.

2. The development of an Emissions Inventory Query Wizard to allow public users to obtain quality assured emissions inventory data.

3. Implementation of a produced water tank study and an oil gas production site emissions inventory study, both aimed at improving emissions data.

The UGRB Ozone Strategy is available on DEQ’s website at http://deq.state.wy.us/aqd/Technical%20Documents.asp.


Stabilis Energy to purchase Encana domestic LNG business (posted 4/14/14)
Combined company to be a leading provider of Liquefied Natural Gas fueling solutions to high horsepower engines
On April 14, 2014 Stabilis Energy announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase substantially all of the U.S. based assets of Encana Natural Gas Inc. (ENGI). Denver-based ENGI is a leading distributor of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel to domestic high horsepower engine operators in the oilfield, mining, rail, marine, over the road transportation, and industrial sectors. ENGI is a subsidiary of Encana Corporation. The transaction is scheduled to close on April 30, 2014. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Click on this link for the full media release by Stabilis Energy: Stabilis Energy announces signing of Definitive Agreement to Purchase Encana Natural Gas Inc.'s domestic LNG business


View of the Walgreens store and unstable hillside behind it in Jackson, Wyoming. Photo taken Thursday, April 10 by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio.
View of the Walgreens store and unstable hillside behind it in Jackson, Wyoming. Photo taken Thursday, April 10 by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio.
Jackson residents ordered to evacuate from unstable hillside (posted 4/10/14)
Budge Drive area residents and buildings in danger
Town of Jackson, Wyoming media release
JACKSON, WYOMING - Unified Incident Command issues evacuation order to residents of Budge Drive at 7:30 P.M. tonight (Wednesday, April 9th).

Based on additional information received from engineers and geologists advising the incident command team, Unified Incident Command has issued an evacuation order for all residents of Budge Drive, the Walgreens apartments, and commercial businesses in the Hillside Complex due to the instability of the hillside in this area and concern for the safety of residents and their ability to leave the area should events escalate. Updated information was received that indicated the hillside has moved at a deeper level underground causing further concern.

Residents began receiving the Evacuation Order at approximately 7:30 P.M. with orders to evacuate by 10:00 P.M. Mountain Standard Time, April 9, 2014, due to imminent public safety concerns. Residents were advised that once they had exited Budge Drive, they would not be allowed back to their residence. Additionally, residents were advised that if they had mobility issues or special needs they could contact TCSO Dispatch at 307-733-2331 for assistance.

Residents were also advised that the Jackson Teton County Animal Shelter would be open until 10:00 P.M. to accept animals needing boarding during this order.

Evacuees were asked to register at the Red Cross Trailer located in the Powderhorn Parking Lot so that notification could be provided to them once an evacuation order was lifted.

Jackson Police Department and Fire/EMS personnel began going door to door notifying residents of this order at approximately 7:30 P.M. Once the order is lifted, residents will be contacted through the contact information provided at the Red Cross trailer and through press releases and Nixle.

Rich Ochs, Teton County Emergency Management Coordinator, said, "Public safety is our number one priority and taking this action now instead of waiting is the best approach."

On April 6, 2014, the hillside movement caused the Town’s pump station at the northwest corner of Budge Drive and West Broadway Avenue to shift, which, in turn, caused a water main break. Town crews repaired water mains and addressed road damage related to the movement on the hillside. Town officials have been working closely with engineers and geologists to provide continuous monitoring of the area affected with numerous data points on the hillside to monitor movement.

The Town of Jackson will continue to work with engineers and geologists with expertise in the area of slope stabilization and will continue to monitor movement through tracking of the data points in the area. The Town will continue to consider and evaluate mitigation alternatives and methods to provide long term stabilization of the slope and alternative access.
_______________________________________

Earlier release:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6:00PM:

Evacuation Advisory Issued
Jackson, WY. Town of Jackson provides evacuation advisory notice to residents and continues to monitor the hillside movement.

The Town of Jackson issued an evacuation advisory to residents of Budge Drive in response to a slight buckling of a portion of the roadway as well as additional movement of portions of the hillside. Additionally, Town crews worked to shut off and cap both water mains servicing the Budge Drive area today with water being provided through a temporary line on the roadway.

Earlier today, the Town of Jackson Building Official, Steve Haines, provided a Declaration of Unsafe Buildings and Notice to Vacate the Premises to Walgreens commercial space. The declaration indicated that they were to vacate as of 12:00 P.M. Thursday, April 10, 2014. Gas service to Walgreens has been capped as a precautionary measure. Walgreens informed Town officials that they intended to donate all perishable food items to the local food bank. Walgreens continues to fully cooperate with Town officials.

Teton County Public Health officials, in consultation with Walgreens, are advising persons needing to obtain a prescription to call their doctor and ask that another prescription be called in to a pharmacy of their choice.

Unified Co-Commander Willy Watsabaugh said, "The reason we’re acting now is to ensure that we have a plan in place should events escalate." Cole Nethercott, Co-Commander added, "Our highest priority is the safety of the residents in the area."

On April 6, 2014, the hillside movement caused the Town’s pump station at the northwest corner of Budge Drive and West Broadway Avenue to shift, which, in turn, caused a water main break. Town crews worked diligently over the past several days to successfully jackhammer through approximately 18 inches of concrete to repair that leak. Since that date Town officials have been working closely with engineers and geologists to provide continuous monitoring of the area affected with numerous data points on the hillside to monitor movement. The site continues to show movement in some areas but not others.

At this time, the areas of greatest concern that would be affected by a release of the hillside is the Walgreens commercial operation and the Town’s water pump station.

The Town of Jackson will continue to work with engineers and geologists with expertise in the area of slope stabilization. The Town will continue to consider and evaluate mitigation alternatives and methods to provide long term stabilization of the slope and possible alternative access. Rich Ochs, Teton County Emergency Management Coordinator, has been in contact with State of Wyoming officials to keep them apprised of the situation should the need for additional assistance be necessary. Should an evacuation order be necessary, the Incident Commander could make that declaration or the Jackson Town Council could also make that declaration.

Related Links:
Evacuation Order Town of Jackson, Wyoming


Feds give State wildlife agencies portion of excise taxes on anglers, hunters, and boaters (posted 4/8/14)
Recreational use taxes fund conservation projects – Wyoming to get $18 million
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. A state-by-state table is included in this release.

"People who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating and recreational shooting provide a strong foundation for conservation funding in this country," Jewell said. "The taxes they pay on equipment and boating fuel support critical fish and wildlife management and conservation efforts, create access for recreational boating, and underpin education programs that help get kids outdoors."

The Service apportions the funds to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.

"Anyone who enjoys our nation’s outdoor heritage should thank hunters, anglers, recreational boaters and target shooters," said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, these individuals have created a 75-year legacy for conservation of critical wildlife habitat and improved access to the outdoors for everyone."

The total distributions this year are $238.4 million higher than last year because of the inclusion of funds that were not distributed last year because of the government sequester and an increase in excise tax receipts from sales of firearms and ammunition in the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2014 totals a record $760.9 million, which includes $20 million that was sequestered from FY 2013 but subsequently returned to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.

The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2014 totals $325.7 million, which includes $18.5 million that was sequestered from FY 2013 but subsequently returned to the Sport Fish Restoration Trust Fund. The FY 2014 Sport Fish Restoration apportionment is $34.1 million lower than FY 2013 due to lower domestic fishing equipment excise tax receipts.

The Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project, while state fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-federal match.

Funding is paid by manufacturers, producers and importers and is distributed by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program to each state and territory. For information on funding for each state: http://www.fws.gov/home/wsfr/apportionments-fy14.html.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have generated a total of more than $15 billion since their inception – in 1937 in the case of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program – to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The recipient fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $5 billion. This funding is critical to sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and providing opportunities for all to connect with nature.

Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program website at wsfrprograms.fws.gov for more information on the goals and accomplishments of these programs and for individual state, commonwealth, and territorial funding allocations.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Final Apportionment of Wildlife Restoration Funds and Sport Fish Restoration Funds for Fiscal Year 2014

ALABAMA $24,306,075
ALASKA $48,798,100
AMERICAN SAMOA $2,353,763
ARIZONA $25,626,338
ARKANSAS $20,182,820
CALIFORNIA $41,588,102
COLORADO $26,957,671
CONNECTICUT $8,715,486
DELAWARE $7,752,281
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA $1,085,800
FLORIDA $24,404,776
GEORGIA $23,306,448
GUAM $2,353,763
HAWAII $7,773,961
IDAHO $20,286,724
ILLINOIS $22,676,138
INDIANA $17,301,752
IOWA $15,633,542
KANSAS $18,887,612
KENTUCKY $18,139,584
LOUISIANA $21,261,136
MAINE $11,420,465
MARYLAND $10,458,232
MASSACHUSETTS $10,516,201
MICHIGAN $35,244,512
MINNESOTA $35,296,856
MISSISSIPPI $14,439,942
MISSOURI $27,827,946
MONTANA $27,779,751
N. MARIANA ISLANDS $2,353,763
NEBRASKA $16,565,406
NEVADA $18,210,335
NEW HAMPSHIRE $7,752,281
NEW JERSEY $10,516,201
NEW MEXICO $20,698,851
NEW YORK $28,467,902
NORTH CAROLINA $29,553,173
NORTH DAKOTA $14,897,981
OHIO $22,464,377
OKLAHOMA $23,920,300
OREGON $24,444,659
PENNSYLVANIA $35,731,360
PUERTO RICO $6,600,639
RHODE ISLAND $7,752,281
SOUTH CAROLINA $14,857,369
SOUTH DAKOTA $17,835,269
TENNESSEE $26,002,731
TEXAS $51,562,020
UTAH $19,693,655
VERMONT $7,752,281
VIRGIN ISLANDS $2,353,763
VIRGINIA $19,046,390
WASHINGTON $21,240,210
WEST VIRGINIA $11,315,854
WISCONSIN $34,208,337
WYOMING $18,540,900


Minimum of 1,700 wolves in Northern Rockies (posted 4/8/14)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in collaboration with other federal, state and tribal agencies, announced the 2013 Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) Gray Wolf Population numbers.

As of December 31, 2013, there were at least 78 breeding pairs and 1,691 wolves within the NRM area. The wolf population remains well above the recovery levels identified by FWS and partner biologists in the recovery plan. Minimum management targets are at least 45 breeding pairs and at least 450 wolves across the NRM area. The minimum population estimate includes wolf packs in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. No wolf packs were documented in Utah.

The population estimate includes:
Montana recorded >627 wolves in >152 packs (including >28 breeding pairs);
Idaho recorded >659 wolves in >107 packs (including >20 breeding pairs);
Wyoming recorded >306 wolves in >43 packs (including >23 breeding pairs);
Washington recorded >38 wolves in >10 packs (including >3 breeding pairs), and
Oregon recorded >61 wolves in >8 packs (including >4 breeding pairs).

Wolf Depredations: Although confirmed depredations result in a comparatively small proportion of all livestock losses in the NRM DPS, wolf damage can be significant to some livestock producers in areas where wolves are present. Total confirmed depredations by wolves in 2013 included 143 cattle, 476 sheep, 6 dogs, 1 horse, 3 ponies, and 3 goats. From 2008 through 2012, an average of 199 cattle depredations occurred each year (ranged=193-214). An average of 397 sheep depredations occurred each year (ranged=162-749). Seventy-one of 369 (~19%) known NRM DPS wolf packs that existed at some point in 2013 were involved in at least 1 confirmed depredation. Of these packs, 51 packs were involved in >1 cattle depredation, 8 packs were involved in >1 sheep depredation, 1 pack was involved in >1 pony depredation, and an additional 11 packs were involved in depredations of >1 livestock species.

Control of Problem Wolves: For strictly comparative purposes, FWS estimated the absolute minimum number of wolves alive in 2013 by combining the 2013 NRM DPS minimum population estimate of 1,691 wolves with all known mortalities from all causes (n= 922). This sums to an absolute minimum NRM DPS estimate of 2,613 wolves known to be alive at some point in 2013 (Montana=962, Idaho=1,132, Wyoming=415, Washington=40, and Oregon=64). The absolute minimum estimate was only used to compare relative rates of the various causes of mortality to NRM wolves. In 2013, a total of 202 wolves (~8% of the absolute minimum NRM DPS estimated wolf population) were killed in control actions in the NRM including:
75 wolves in Montana (~8% of the absolute minimum MT estimated population),
94 wolves in Idaho (~8% of the absolute minimum ID estimated population), and
33 wolves in Wyoming (~8% of the absolute minimum WY estimated population).
No wolves were removed in control actions in Washington or Oregon.

Public Harvest of Wolves: Legal harvest removed 650 wolves (~25% of the
absolute minimum NRM DPS estimated wolf population).
231were legally harvested in Montana (~24% of the absolute minimum Montana estimated
wolf population);
356 wolves in Idaho (~31% of the absolute minimum Idaho estimated population);
62 wolves in Wyoming (~15% of the absolute minimum Wyoming estimated population), and
1 wolf in Washington (~3% of the absolute minimum Washington estimated population).
No wolves were harvested in Oregon.

Wolf Population Recovery: By every biological measure the NRM DPS wolf population is fully recovered and remains secure under State management.
Resident packs have saturated suitable habitat in the core recovery areas and the population has exceeded recovery goals for 12 consecutive years.
Dispersing wolves routinely travel between NRM and Canada and successfully breed, demonstrating that the 3 subpopulations function as a single large NRM meta-population.

Wolf Funding: In 2013, $2,552,128 of federal funding was spent by state, federal, and Tribal agencies on wolf monitoring, management, control, and research. State and private compensation programs spent $273,548.00 to compensate livestock producers for dead, injured, or missing livestock.

The annual report is conducted as part of FWS's work to monitor the wolf population to ensure that it continues to exceed recovery goals under professional state management, and no longer requires federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Click on the links below to review the entire report.
Related Links:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Read entire report here.
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit


Wyoming Wolf Population: Minimum of 306 (posted 4/8/14)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports that at the end of 2013, the gray wolf population in Wyoming remained above minimum delisting criteria, making 2013 the 12th consecutive year Wyoming has exceeded the numerical, distributional, and temporal delisting criteria established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The WYO end of year wolf population increased 7% from 2012 to 2013 and remained above the minimum delisting criterion of at least 100 wolves.

At least 306 wolves in >43 packs (including >23 breeding pairs) inhabited Wyoming at the end of 2013. Of the total, there were:
>95 wolves and >11 packs (including >8 breeding pairs) inside Yellowstone,
>12 wolves and >2 packs (>0 breeding pairs) in the Wind River Reservation,
and
>199 wolves and >30 packs (including >15 breeding pairs) in WYO.
The state of Wyoming is responsible for maintaining ¡Ý100 wolves and >10 breeding pairs in WYO. While the state does not have management authority over wolves in all areas in WYO such as Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge, these areas are small and the majority of wolf packs are shared among these jurisdictions and are, therefore, assigned to WYO. Yellowstone, in combination with the Wind River Reservation, is expected to contribute the remaining buffer of >50 wolves and >5 breeding pairs necessary to meet the >150 wolf and >15 breeding pair requirement.

A total of 109 wolf mortalities were documented statewide in Wyoming in 2013
(101 in WYO, 7 in Yellowstone, and 1 in the Wind River Reservation).
Causes of mortality included:
human-caused = 99 (91%; control = 33, hunting = 62, vehicles = 2, illegal = 2);
natural = 8 (7%); and
unknown = 2 (2%).
The total mortality rate for wolves in Wyoming in 2013 was 26% (109 known wolf mortalities compared to 415 wolves known to have been alive in 2013).

A total of $876,552.66 was spent to monitor and manage wolves, not including livestock depredation compensation, in Wyoming by all jurisdictions combined (WGFD = $541,594.86; Yellowstone = $193,000.00; Grand Teton = $60,000.00, Wildlife Services = $60,957.80; USFWS Lander Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office on the Wind River Reservation = $18,000.00; Tribal Fish and Game = $3,000.00).

In 2013, WGFD instituted a wolf hunting season with the biological objective to
reduce the wolf population by approximately 5% in the trophy game area and to
provide recreational hunting opportunity to Wyoming sportsmen. Wolf harvest
was focused primarily in areas with high levels of historic wolf-livestock conflict
and/or areas with relatively high wolf densities in an attempt to reduce livestock
damage and excessive predation on ungulate herds. A total of 23 wolves were legally harvested and 1 wolf was illegally killed during the hunting season. Wolves could also be taken anytime in any legal manner in WYO where they are designated as predatory animals. Thirty-nine wolves were taken under predatory animal status in 2013.

Implementation of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission wolf hunting strategy in 2013 did not reduce the wolf population in the trophy game area as intended (5% increase vs. 5% predicted decline) with a population of >179 wolves at the end of 2013.

Wolves were confirmed to have killed 75 head of livestock (41 cattle, 33 sheep, and 1 goat) and 1 dog in Wyoming in 2013. An additional 6 cattle, 2 sheep, 1 horse, 1 bison, and 1 dog were injured by wolves, but survived.
Sixteen packs (48% of 33 packs in Wyoming outside Yellowstone) were involved in >1 depredation in 2013. Of the 16 packs involved in >1 depredation; 9 packs (56%; 27% of packs in Wyoming outside Yellowstone) were involved in >2 depredations; and 6 packs (38%; 18% of packs in Wyoming outside Yellowstone) were involved in >3 depredations.
Control efforts lethally removed 33 depredating wolves in an effort to reduce livestock losses due to wolves (11% of the wolf population in WYO known to be alive during 2013).

A combined minimum of $157,195.60 was spent on wolf damage management in WYO by Wildlife Services ($60,957.80) and livestock depredation compensation by the State of Wyoming ($96,237.76) in 2013.

The report notes that: 30 percent of confirmed cattle depredations were on public land and 70% were on private property. Although the report states that:
"All confirmed sheep depredations in 2013 occurred on public land," this statement is not accurate. In reality, 21% of confirmed sheep depredations were attributed to the Prospect Pack, which killed sheep on private lands ¨C not public lands. With this in mind, the report's estimate that 61% of all confirmed wolf depredations were on public land and 39% of all depredations were on private land, should be corrected to reflect the reality that 51% of all livestock depredations occurred on public land, and 49% occurred on private land.

Harvest of wolves designated as predatory animals "successfully limited wolf numbers in areas exemplified by low habitat suitability, low re-colonization potential and historically high wolf- livestock conflicts." The slight increase in the number of wolves counted in the predatory animal areas is likely the result of wolves dispersing from the trophy game area in response to the increased population in that area in 2013. "The wolf population, and potential livestock damage, in the predatory animal areas would have been significantly greater without wolf hunting under predatory animal status."

Sixty-one wolves were captured and radio-collared in 2013. Seventy-one radio-collared wolves were being monitored at the end of 2013 in Wyoming (23% of the year-end population). A total of $876,552.66 was spent to monitor and manage wolves, not including livestock depredation compensation, in Wyoming by all jurisdictions combined.

Related Links:
Wyoming Game & Fish Department report - Read the entire report here.
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit


Nine wolves taken in Predator Zone (posted 4/8/14)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
There have been nine wolves harvested in Wyoming's predator zone in 2014, according to a Wyoming Game and Fish Department report on April 4, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

Related Links:
Wyoming Game & Fish Department - Updated harvest report.
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit


Encana to sell its Jonah field operations in Wyoming (posted 3/31/14)
To an affiliate of TPG Capital for $1.8 billion
Encana media release
Calgary, Alberta (March 31, 2014) TSX, NYSE: ECA
Encana Corporation (Encana) (TSX, NYSE: ECA) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., has reached an agreement with an affiliate of TPG Capital (TPG) to sell certain natural gas properties in the Jonah field located in Sublette County, Wyoming, for a purchase price of approximately US$1.8 billion.

"This transaction is consistent with our strategy," says Doug Suttles, Encana President & CEO. "With the divestment of Jonah, we are unlocking value from a mature, high-quality asset and allowing our teams to focus on our five core growth areas and continue with execution of our new strategy."

Encana’s Jonah field comprises a total productive area of about 24,000 acres and over 1,500 active wells. Estimated year-end 2013 proved reserves for Jonah totaled approximately 1,493 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe). The transaction also includes over 100,000 undeveloped acres adjacent to Jonah known as the Normally Pressured Lance (NPL) area.

"The Jonah field is a world-class, low-risk resource with long reserve life and future drilling opportunities that will be a strong platform to continue to grow a portfolio of cash flow-producing assets," says Tom Hart, CEO of the new oil and gas platform formed by TPG to pursue this investment.

The buyer expects to retain the employees currently working in connection with the Jonah field and plans to continue investment in the field and adjacent acreage, which will assist in supporting local employment in the area.

"We look forward to working with the talented Encana team that has made Jonah a successful operation for many years," says Craig Manaugh, President and COO of the new TPG oil and gas platform. "We are also pleased to announce that we will be maintaining the Jonah field office near Pinedale, Wyoming and opening a Denver office as a result of the transaction."

This sale of Encana's Jonah assets is subject to satisfaction of normal closing conditions, as well as regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014 with an effective date of December 1, 2013. Evercore and Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP advised Encana on this transaction. Vinson & Elkins LLP advised TPG on the transaction.

Encana’s Corporate Guidance will be updated when the company reports its 2014 first-quarter results.

Click on this link for more details


Don’t fall victim to computer and telephone scams (posted 3/28/14)
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office in Rock Springs is warning of two internet and telephone scams that continue being circulated.

In the first, the intended victim receives an email supposedly sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The message says the recipient has won a large sum in an international lottery and the FBI, as a matter of routine, has researched the award and determined it to be legitimate. The recipient is informed that he needs only to pay certain "Deposit Fees" and "Shipping Fees" in order to collect his winnings.

"It’s all bogus," said Sheriff Rich Haskell. "The FBI doesn’t involve itself in lottery payouts. The sting kicks in when the victim sends in the requested ‘fees,’ which, of course, he never sees again."

The second ruse, commonly called the "Computer Tech Scam," involves a telephone call from an individual - often with a heavy foreign accent - who informs his would-be victim that he is with Microsoft or other large computer company. The caller claims that his company has been monitoring the person’s computer and is calling to assist in making needed repairs or modifications.

"The caller will ask you to turn on your computer and follow his instructions," Haskell said. "Those who fall victim to this swindle find themselves downloading malware and revealing important personal and financial information. In addition, the scammers may also actually try to charge the individual for phony repairs or modifications."

Authorities wish to remind the public that computer and software companies aren’t going to call you to tell you about problems that you are having with your computer. Further, you should never go along with instructions received during an unsolicited call, such as directions to download attachments, click on links, or provide passwords or user names. The best thing to do, they say, is just hang up.


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