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Pinedale Online!
Pinedale, Wyoming  •  www.PinedaleOnline.com
A "Slice of Life" view of Pinedale and Sublette County, Wyoming
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Lunar Eclipse
Lunar Eclipse Arnold Brokling sent in these photographs of the lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning. These were taken in five minute intervals without moving or adjusting the camera. "In retrospect, I would have used a ‘wider’ lens and attempted to capture the entire eclipse. What I used moved off the frame in about 40 minutes. Something to try on Oct 8th." Photo by Arnold Brokling.
Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse There was an eclipse of the moon on Monday night, April 14th. For those who stayed up late to observe it, a black shadow appeared at 11:58 PM and moved across the moon, and became total at 1:07 AM Tuesday morning, Rocky Mountain time. Pinedale Online photographer Dave Bell took this photo of the eclipse at 1:30AM. White dot in lower right is a star. The next lunar eclipse will be October 8th. Click on this link for more of Dave’s scenic photos of the area: Dave Bell Photo Gallery Photo by Dave Bell.
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.
Headlines:

Pinedale Local:

Pedaling through Pinedale this summer
Sublette County School District #1 recognizes QEP Resources
Grand Opening of 4-H Barn April 15
4 Pinedale students to go on to National History Day competition
Meet the Candidate Open House for Michael Kudar April 17
Sarah Hunt announces candidacy for Pinedale Town Council
Death Notice: Monte Olsen
Special Showing of movie ‘The Son of God’ April 16
SAFV Task Force Annual Spring Luncheon April 24

Front Page Story Archive

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White Pine Webcam
White Pine Web Cam on US 189 north of Marbleton at the junction with Hwy 351  - view looking north
View looking at ski runs from lodge

Pinedale DEQ Webcam Pinedale DEQ Web Cam
Pinedale DEQ Cam

Pinedale Wolf Dodge Cam
Pinedale webcam, view from Wolf Dodge building looking north. The Wind River Mountains are in the distance. Hwy 191/Pine Street is the street from left to right.
US 191 from the Wolf Dodge-Pinedale Entertainment Center building

WYDOT US 191
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Events: Click for event information
April 15: Grand Opening of 4H Barn - Begins at 12:45PM at the Rose Skinner 4-H Preserve, approximately 2 miles south of Pinedale immediately south of the QEP office, 9663 US Hwy 191. University of Grand Opening and Donor Recognition Ceremony hosted by the Wyoming Extension and Sublette County 4-H. Governor Mead, Sublette County Commissioners, and the University of Wyoming will be on hand to thank QEP for their investment in Sublette County’s youth and our agricultural heritage.
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.
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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What is Pinedale Online?

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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Natural Gas Industry Info:

WyoPipeline.com

Sublette County Land Use Policy Process

Wolf Watch, by Cat Urbigkit

NEWS AND UPDATES    (Click here for archived news stories)
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Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and first responders extricate two people from a crushed vehicle pinned between two semi-tractor trailers. Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and first responders extricate two people from a crushed vehicle pinned between two semi-tractor trailers. Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol.
I-80 reopens after 47-vehicle crash, 18-hour closure (posted 4/14/14)
Wyoming Highway Patrol
ELK MOUNTAIN, WYOMING – Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers and WYDOT personnel reopened westbound Interstate 80 after a pileup crash involving at least 47 vehicles forced the closure of the westbound lanes of the Interstate for approximately 18 hours.

The crash was reported just before 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, April 13th approximately seven miles east of Elk Mountain and speeds on the Interstate had been reduced to 45 MPH at the time of the crash due to winter conditions.

Troopers are still attempting to identify exactly how many vehicles were actually involved in the pileup which occurred during snowy, windy, icy conditions that limited visibility. The actual vehicle count may go up as the investigation progresses.

Five crash victims were transported to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins and two were transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. One of the victims transported to Laramie suffering serious injuries has since been transferred to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Two of the crash victims in a Subaru vehicle were trapped for approximately two hours as troopers and first responders attempted to extricate them from their vehicle which was crushed between two tractor-trailer vehicles.

Troopers investigating this crash say speed too fast for the existing conditions by motorists is a contributing factor that led up to so many vehicles being involved.

Troopers across the State continue to work crashes Monday morning as roadways are slick to slick in spots. Motorists are reminded to obey the variable speed signs and to drive with care.


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


Photo courtesy Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
Photo courtesy Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office: Sheep dogs in remote areas should be left alone (posted 4/8/14)
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an advisory concerning sheep dogs and their puppies.

A Rock Springs woman recently came upon seven Great Pyrenees puppies in the bottom of a gulch in a remote area south of the city and took them home, fearing that they had been abandoned.

"They weren’t abandoned," said Sheriff Rich Haskell. "The litter belongs to a working sheep dog. She either had her pups right there or had moved them there. It’s a common thing for them to do; it would be hard for pups that small to escape from that spot, so Mom could be confident they would be there when she returned."

The pups were reported to the Sheriff’s Office, and Animal Control Officers Chris Thomas and Tracy Hafner, working with Eddie Lopez, the Sheriff’s Office livestock range officer, determined that the pups’ mother was from one of the sheep camps operated by Raftopoulos Brothers Livestock, headquartered in Craig, Colorado.

As of this writing, Thomas and Lopez are arranging for mother and pups to be reunited.

Thomas, pictured here with the seven pups, estimates they are about a month old. "They’re small now," she said, "but a full-grown Great Pyrenees male can weigh 120 pounds."

"This is a recurring problem out in the county," said Haskell. "Large dogs, often Great Pyrenees, which are commonly used by sheep operations, are found a long way from residential or business areas by people who think they’ve been dumped, but frequently they’re working sheep dogs."

Thomas explained that problems often arise. "People pick these dogs up and bring them in with the best of intentions, but once they’ve been removed from their working environment for any amount of time, they often lose their working skills. And, like in this instance, females may have litters of pups hidden somewhere."

Officials ask that people encountering large dogs in remote areas not pick them up, but note the location and notify the Sheriff’s Office.


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


Dr. Buck Wallace demonstrates how the ultrasound machine works. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Dr. Buck Wallace demonstrates how the ultrasound machine works.
Pinedale Clinic gets new Ultrasound machine (posted 3/29/14)
On Friday evening, March 28th, the Sublette County Rural Health Care Foundation (SCRHCF) held a reception at the Pinedale Medical Clinic to show the public the new Ultrasound diagnostic unit acquired for the Sublette County Rural Health Care District (SCRHCD).

The Foundation set out on raising funds to support acquiring this unit several years ago after several doctors spoke to Foundation board members and described their need for this kind of unit. The doctors saw a real need for this and the Foundation agreed. The Foundation worked with the Health Care District Board to find an appropriate unit and worked to secure funding to purchase it. Funding was raised from a combination of private donations, employee contributions, Rural Health Care Board member donations, and taxpayer dollars. The unit and training software cost a little over $45,000.

Health Care Foundation President Donni Toth spoke noted the cooperation of the District, the Scrub Club (contributions from the medical clinic staff), individual Foundation Board of Directors member donations, and the nearly 25% of the cost received from Sublette resident personal donations.

Donni Toth also spoke of the Foundation’s Families in Need program which provides financial assistance to families unable to pay for medical needs.

The District’s Board Chairman, Laura Clark, highlighted the cooperation between the District Board and the Foundation Board in getting this important project accomplished.

The new ultrasound unit will enable quicker diagnosis of injuries and determination of whether a patient needs to be moved to another facility. In many cases, minutes count in saving lives, and this unit gives medical personnel that time advantage to make a diagnosis in many cases. This has potential to also save Sublette residents money. In the past, evacuations were sometimes done as a preventative measure based on their best available knowledge of the patient’s condition, but that later proved to be unnecessary.

Dr. Buck Wallace demonstrated the unit and explained it will enable medical staff to have quick answers to make educated diagnoses of fast-developing trauma such as aneurysms and internal bleeding, or ectopic pregnancies. Making quicker diagnoses and correct medical treatment decisions will save lives. He also pointed out that ultrasound technology is non-destructive to the patient, unlike x-rays and cat scans.

The ultrasound unit will also be a source of income for the clinics. Until now, any patient needing an ultrasound was sent to an out-of-area medical facility because the technology wasn’t available in the county. This revenue now will stay in the county to help support the Rural Health Care District’s efforts to provide medical services to citizens.

The purchase of the ultrasound machine was the first capital expenditure effort by the Rural Health Care Foundation. Now the Foundation looks forward to another fundraising drive aimed to meet a need of the Big Piney-Marbleton Clinic.

Sublette County Rural Health Care Foundation Board members are:
Donni Toth, President
Bill Winney, Vice President
Cindy Van, Secretary
Nora Ferrand, Treasurer
Wendy L. Friend, Executive Director
Malenda Hoelscher, Health Care Administrator Advisory Member
Maxine Leckie
Dave Racich
Jill Hermstad
Dr. David Kappermann
Dr. Eliz Albritton

Click on this link for more pictures (7 photos)

Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online. Thank you to Bill Winney for his contribution to this article.

Related Links:
www.sublettehealthcare.com Sublette County Rural Health Care District
Sublette County Rural Health Care Foundation


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.


National Park Service announces Record Of Decision not to remote vaccinate Yellowstone Bison (posted 3/28/14)
National Park Service
National Park Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica signed a Record of Decision (ROD) to not implement a remote vaccination program to address brucellosis in Yellowstone Bison.

The ROD officially completes the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, which was developed in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and included public involvement, including opportunities for the public to submit comments Draft EIS.

The decision was to implement the No Action alternative, which continues the currently authorized syringe vaccination of bison calves and yearlings periodically captured at the northern boundary of the park.

The no-action alternative is supported by the inclusive IBMP Citizen’s Working Group, most engaged American Indian Tribes, the Intertribal Buffalo Council, and the conclusions of a February 2013 Bison/Brucellosis Science panel composed of disease experts and convened by the NPS and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Additional information including an electronic copy of the Record of Decision and of the Final EIS is available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/BisonRemoteVacc. You can request a printed copy of either document by contacting the National Park Service, Bison Management Program, P. O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.


Wyoming Range parcels to be offered for oil and gas leasing (posted 3/28/14)
Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Wyoming State Office release Notice of Intent
Joint media release
The Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wyoming State Office are proposing to offer specific parcels for oil and gas leasing on the eastern slope of the Wyoming Range, along the western portion of Sublette County in areas identified as suitable and available for oil and gas leasing within the Bridger-Teton National Forest and not prohibited by the Wyoming Range Legacy Act.

"The decision to be made is whether the Forest Service objects or does not object to the Bureau of Land Management offering for sale oil and gas leases on these specific parcels, and under what terms and conditions," said Forest Supervisor Clint Kyhl. "This decision will supersede prior decisions regarding oil and gas leasing on these specific parcels," Kyhl said. Based upon the Forest Service’s decision, the Bureau of Land Management will decide which parcels would be offered for lease with appropriate stipulations, which parcels will be deferred, which parcels are not available for leasing, and which parcels are canceled.

This notice of intent speaks to the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s and BLM’s intention of preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) to analyze and disclose potential environmental effects relative to oil and gas leasing in portions of the Wyoming Range on the Bridger-Teton. These parcels were previously identified as suitable and available for oil and gas leasing in the Bridger-Teton National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. The Forest and BLM will prepare a new draft and final SEIS in place of the draft and final SEIS released in February 2010 and January 2011, respectively.

No new comments on the project are being requested at this time. Extensive public involvement efforts were conducted with the 2008 scoping period. Because public comments covering the range of relevant issues for the analysis were received in the 2008 scoping period and in the comment period on the 2010 Draft SEIS, an additional scoping period is not being conducted. Scoping comments and comments on the Draft SEIS previously submitted will be considered in preparation of the new SEIS. Scoping for a supplemental environmental impact statement is not required. Kyhl said, "The public will have another opportunity to comment on this project when the new Draft SEIS is released".

A draft Record of Decision will be released with the new Final SEIS, and will be subject to the Forest Service Pre-decisional Administrative Review (Objection) Process described in the Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 218. Following those regulations, a draft of the decision will be made available with the Final SEIS. Those who have submitted timely, specific written comments regarding this project during any of the comment periods will be eligible to file an objection to that draft decision. A final decision will not be made until the Forest Service has responded to the objections.

The new Draft SEIS is expected to be published in the fall of 2014. The estimated completion date for the Final SEIS is late spring, 2015.

Since the previous notices were published, the Forest Service received notice from the Bureau of Land Management that some parcels are no longer being considered for leasing. A revised project map is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/btnf/landmanagement/projects .
"This project is no longer being referred to as the "44-7" because that acreage is incorrect", said Kyhl. "The title of this analysis is revised to "Oil and Gas Leasing in Portions of the Wyoming Range" in order to be consistent and to reflect the updated acres that are being analyzed," he said. The acreage under analysis has changed from 44,720 to 41,554-acres.

"We are committed to being clear, consistent and transparent as required throughout this analysis," said Kyhl. We will be in strict adherence of the law and follow sound scientific methodology throughout this project," Kyhl said.

Background:
A National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis was originally conducted in 2004, with lease sales occurring in 2005 and 2006. The Wyoming Range Legacy Act (2009) withdrew the Wyoming Range and surrounding National Forest System lands to leasing, mineral entry, and land appropriation or disposal, except for completing the decision-making process on prior lease sales. On the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the decision-making on prior lease sales remained for 44,720 acres. In January 2011, the Forest and BLM released the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) not authorizing leasing. That decision was appealed in March 2011 by leasees and lease high-bidders, oil and gas industry organizations, and the Sublette County (Wyoming) Commissioners. In May 2011, after a review of the appeals, the Forest withdrew the decision to allow for additional effects analysis and consideration of the decision. Since then, the Bridger-Teton National Forest conducted its own internal analysis and determined that prior NEPA was inadequate for numerous reasons and that a new NEPA document was necessary. The publication of the Notice of Intent on March 21, 2014 begins this new analysis.


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