Thursday, October 15, 2015


Last Friday, a federal court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to temporarily delay nationwide adoption of the "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule. The order was in response to challenges brought by 18 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin).
Two of the three 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges held that the states bringing the challenges "have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims" and ordered the rule to be "STAYED, nationwide, pending further order of the court." However, in the coming weeks, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals must determine whether it has the authority to hear the case.
This comes only after a separate decision on August 27 by the U.S. District Court of North Dakota to delay the rule in 13 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming). Prior to last week's Court of Appeals ruling, however, the EPA and the Corps were still legally allowed to implement the final rule in the remaining 37 states.

While numerous WOTUS cases have been filed by 31 states and other private parties in separate circuit courts, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided that the cases would be merged in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals because they are similar in nature. However, in a separate development, the same panel denied the Department of Justice's request to consolidate other WOTUS lawsuits filed separately in district court against U.S. EPA and the Corps.

This development only increases the complexity because it remains undetermined whether challenges to the rule will ultimately be heard in circuit or district courts. This will likely lengthen the timeframe of the rule's judicial proceedings.

(from the National Association of Counties) 

Releasing Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it may release Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico in an effort to recover the fragile species, despite the state having refused the federal government a permit to do so.
“Notwithstanding the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s decision to deny our permit, the Mexican wolf is still at risk of extinction,” FWS said in a draft statement obtained by the Journal.
In the statement, FWS said it intends to pursue its Mexican wolf recovery program in New Mexico under federal authority. The Department of Interior has exempted the program from its policy of complying with state permit requirements in New Mexico, FWS said.

“Our preference is always to work collaboratively with states and we ask New Mexico to reengage with us in these efforts,” FWS said.

The Mexican wolf was brought to the brink of extinction by excessive hunting and by the 1970s, just seven animals were known to remain. The federal government began a program to breed wolves and in 1998 started releasing wolves in Arizona and occasionally transplanting them into New Mexico.
A new management rule that took effect in February allowed the FWS to introduce “new” wolves, or those bred in captivity, directly into the New Mexico wild – a critical step, advocates say, toward improving the genetics of the population.

This past summer, the FWS requested permits of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to release up to 10 Mexican wolf pups into existing packs in New Mexico — a practice known as “cross fostering” — as well as a permit to release a pair of wolves and their pups in the state. The Department denied the permits, as well as an appeal.

Game and Fish Director Alexandra Sandoval’s denial of FWS’s release request was based on the fact the department did not know how many wolves would be released or where they would be set loose, the department’s general counsel Matthias Sayer told the Journal in September.

There are 110 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, according to the FWS’ last count.
“Releasing Mexican wolves to the wild is the only way to save these animals from extinction,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City. “It’s vital now that enough wolves get released to diversify their gene pool and ensure they don’t waste away from inbreeding.”
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, there are eight breeding pairs of Mexican wolves in the wild across the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, and Apache National Forest and Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.

Inbreeding causes fewer pups to be born and fewer to survive to adulthood, advocates say, further threatening the wild population.

“It is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s obligation under the law to recover this species, and reintroductions into the wild from the more genetically diverse captive population are an essential part of that recovery process,” the FWS said in the draft statement.

This is a developing story, so please check back for more information.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mice and Rat Control

Oct. 2, 2015

This is Jason Lamb with your Gardening Minute.

Mice and Rats can create significant problems for home owners. During the fall mice start looking for winter nesting sites such as in your home. The most common rodents found in homes are the house mouse, roof rat, deer mice, and Norway rat. 

When, controlling rodents there are four steps that you should followed.  First, try snap traps. Set snap traps at right angles, along travel routes where rodent droppings are evident. Good mice baits are peanut butter, chocolate, beacon, dry oat meal and cotton balls. Try several different baits at a time to see what they are eating. Traps can be pre-baited without setting the trap at least once to increase success.

Secondly, Sanitation is very effective in reducing rat and mice populations. Eliminate sources of food by cleaning or storing foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers. Waste and garbage should be disposed in tightly covered metal cans. Keep dog and cat food cleaned up. 

Thirdly, clean up mice nesting sites, applying a 10% solution of bleach prior to cleaning for protection against Hantavirus. 

Finally, Exclusion is always the most permanent means of control. Mice can enter your home through opening as small as a ¼ inch. Openings should be covered with rodent-resistant materials, such hardware cloth.

For more information about rodent control please contact us at the Cooperative Extension Office at 461-0562. This has been your Gardening Minute with Jason Lamb your Quay County Ag. Extension Agent. Where are programs are open to everyone.

(Adapted from NMSU Guild L-209 – Rodent Control)