Although not completely confirmed, it appears the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC) may be on the way out, partially due to lack of continued funding. In a scramble, how will these partnerships between non-governmental organizations (NGO), federal agencies, state agencies, and land trusts continue as a large network to accomplish their large landscape conservation goals?
There are several organizations picking up the pieces and their amassing may be a bigger threat to us than the LCCs. They are reorganizing and in doing so are becoming more aggressive. Everyone needs to become familiar with these organizations, where they do their work, their goals, and who the individual players are.
One of the most concerning is the Center For Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC). Partners include the usual, federal agencies, Western Governor's Association (WGA), and large NGOs. At the helm is Director Gary Tabor, an IUCN participant, Senior Conservationist Rob Ament, and Renee Callahan who promotes public policy. Because public funding for LCCs is drying up, CLLC has now created a "fiscally sponsored" project, the "catalyst fund" to bring in those desperately needed dollars.
Although the catalyst fund was set up by the Network For Landscape Conservation (NLC), Jonathan Peterson from the CLLC is the fund manager. The NLC coordinating committee includes members from the Heart of the Rockies, Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), National Park Service, Nature Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Wildlands Network, land trusts, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and Gary Tabor. A full list of all NLC partners can be found here, and it ain't pretty. Suffice to say, both CLLC and NLC are pretty much the same individuals and groups.
The catalyst fund is a "five-year national grant program to "accelerate the pace and practice of collaborative conservation at the landscape scale", funded by foundations. While they claim land conservation is "community-grounded", it is well known they mean their NGO partners, not local citizens, and "building capacity" is meant to increase their strength in numbers.
Led by Rob Ament, CLLC has an even more aggressive plan, targeting state legislators and agencies. In order to advance their, and other NGO connectivity goals, the target will be integrating their wildlife corridor agenda into legislation and policy. The WGA already conspired against us with the 2008 Wildlife Corridor Initiative, being used by the CLLC as one justification for their corridor agenda. And why wouldn't they, CLLC served on the WGA working policy groups that led to wildlife policy initiatives in 2010 and 2013, with multiple other NGOs serving as part of the Western Wildlife Habitat Council (pg 8) for initiative implementation. Data collection and mapping were also initiated as part of the agenda. Wildlife corridors are not the end to the saga, eventually there will be mandates for ecological corridors, biodiversity corridors, habitat corridors, riparian corridors, practically any excuse to create one, which will eventually suck up all land for restricted or banned use. In other words, control over land use, and people.
Returning to the Wildlife Connectivity document, CLLC has developed strategies for integration of their objectives into state legislation and policy. The truth is, CLLC has already decided where these wildlife corridors should be in Idaho and will lobby for the appropriate legislation, as well as having their Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) buddies put them into policy. On page 2 is a map of priority areas, one of which is the US 20/SH87 Complex, which was used as an attempt to build overpasses for their corridor plan. Idahoans in other priority areas are encouraged to take note, the same will be tried in your area. As can be seen, attempts to create wildlife corridors are already being conducted.
There is nothing in the IDFG 2018-2021 Strategic plan for wildlife corridors or connectivity, this is one policy CLLC will want changed, along with State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) for integration of wildlife corridors. Following are a few of those CLLC strategies.
"Delegate a state agency to develop...a wildlife corridor identification process, using "best available science" for criteria. As previously noted CLLC has already identified the corridors and developed their science for identification, it is already a done deal. IDFG employee Gregg Servheen, Wildlife Program Coordinator, has been in on this from the beginning, to suggest delegating a state agency for this agenda is ludicrous. NGOs will lobby legislators to "establish state policy to guide the management of identified corridors". But as seen above, there will be no need for guidance, it will be convincing legislators to put their already determined management into legislation.
"The state agency responsible for this program should have the autonomy to evaluate and apply site-specific management and work cooperatively with stakeholders. In addition to state agency-initiated corridor identification, the legislation might also include a process for the public to submit a petition to designate a corridor." IDFG will be the state agency since they are already involved, and are already autonomous as an executive agency overseen by a Governor appointed commission. Since wildlife have already been "...declared to be the property of the state of Idaho", that leaves Idahoans out of any decisions. The petition rubbish is for NGO members to create, giving a false appearance that there is public support for this corridor agenda. It has been done by them before on other issues, and is another reason for the capacity building.
"Legislators can require relevant state agencies to conduct statewide connectivity analyses using the best available science." Connectivity studies have already been conducted on wildlife linkage areas on Idaho roads and by American Wildlands. Wildlife corridors are used as linkage points between existing protected areas for connectivity.
"State legislation could include a provision that directs a state’s wildlife authority responsible for the SWAP to develop a revision that formally recognizes habitat connectivity as a priority as well as includes actionable management items to identify and conserve wildlife corridors." CLLC knows dang well IDFG is responsible for SWAP which is considered a "living" document that can be updated as new data becomes available, how convenient for the CLLC agenda. While connectivity is currently addressed in different SWAP sections, it is yet to be a priority, which is a CLLC goal.
"State agencies governing the management of wildlife, transportation, and energy should be required to develop BMPs for habitat connectivity. In areas where habitat corridors have been identified, these BMPs should be legally binding to ensure that habitat connectivity and wildlife movement are preserved." "State legislators could direct relevant state agencies to develop BMPs to protect habitat connectivity and wildlife movement for all activities permitted on state lands that are likely to otherwise result in environmental harm." Another area that has already been implemented between IDFG and ITD, and enhanced through the ITD Ecological approach agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, which just happens to be a CLLC partner as well. Once again Rob Ament and Gregg Servheen are involved.
"There are many potential policy approaches to encouraging conservation action on private lands. The most well-known approach is a conservation easement...". Within the McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor aggressive action has already taken land for easements by federal and Idaho agencies in partnerships with NGOs. Forever prohibiting land use is the goal with wildlife corridors.
"Authorize state agencies to institute public-private partnerships...fund state programs to engage citizens in citizen-science projects...that need additional data for decision-making around connectivity policymaking...request information from citizens...to help inform where wildlife corridors exist...". IDFG is already moving towards corporatism, aided by federal legislation. The "citizen-science" actually references the IDFG Idaho Master Naturalist program which partners with Y2Y, and since the data has already been collected for connectivity corridor linkages, the stage has been set to feed it to legislators. Other data collection is already in place through the IFWIS, a member of NatureServe, with a special category for land management and conservation which is not accessible to the general public. The Great Northern LCC already created the Decision Support System (DSS) called Data Basin, in which Gregg Servheen participated with his "best science".
There is a rather large section in the connectivity document for wildlife corridor funding through general fund appropriations, constitutional amendments, federal and foundation initiatives, and conservation banking, claiming that all of this enjoys "wide citizen support". They mean themselves.
In addition to analyzing how he could interject his agenda into federal policy, Rob Ament also reviewed federal policy progress for connectivity. Since there is increasing federal support for wildlife corridors via Sec. Zinke Secretarial Order 3362, and the reintroduced Wildlife Corridor Act, Mr. Ament may be right. The Sierra Club helped write the legislation, along with other NGO support (Y2Y, ICL, GYC among them).
The truth is, CLLC and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) have already created the "best science" to justify where wildlife corridors should be in Idaho, it is just a matter of telling legislators and IDFG where they want them, without consideration of Idaho citizens, or local jurisdictional authority. However, since IDFG was paid to inform the public, one should assume Idahoans already know. Mentioned in the NWF document are "Proposed wildlife crossings", one way in which corridors can be created using exaggerated wildlife vehicle collision data.
It is never about land protection or conservation, it is about taking control over land use. Citizens in Ventura, California understand this as they fought land use restrictions with their wildlife corridor, and lost. Not only do their restrictions involve rezoning 30% of land, it also devalues the land, destroys the agriculture sector, and increases fire risks. For all Idahoans, let this be a lesson to learn if wildlife corridors are imposed, the same set up for this garbage is in play here.
Idaho does have a statute that is suppose to protect private property rights in local land use planning, however NGOs are already taking a look at local zoning and land use ordinances for conservation design changes. Idahoans may want to consider working with county commissioners to integrate a ban on wildlife corridor designation in local land use policies before the NGOs get to them.
Potential NGO lobbyists for this CLLC agenda include Rialin Flores, Conservation Voters for Idaho; Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW); Jonathan Oppenheimer, Idaho Conservation League (ICL); Brian Brooks, Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF); Willam Whelan, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); and Michael Gibson, Trout Unlimited (TU), all of which, except one, are Y2Y partners, which partners with CLLC.
Yep, no need to worry folks, just sit back and relax. NGOs, individuals, and the government have this all figured out for you, where you can live. how you can use your private property, and how Idaho should be reconfigured for animals. Representation by local officials is no longer needed so don't worry about practicing self-governance, or functioning as a Republic, there is no conspiratorial shadow government operating here, or a deep state. Local county authority over land use has and will continue to be completely obliterated by these well thought out agendas, especially when the legislature has been infiltrated by NGO representatives. It is all transparent.
Perhaps we would all be wise to remember the sacrifices made by our Founders, who so deeply understood tyrannical governments, and the price of freedom. At what cost is freedom?
The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREP) has been reintroduced by a New York representative for the seventh time in Congress, and has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee. This bill, H.R. 1321, is another attempt at taking more land away from Idaho citizens for use and designating it as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, biological connecting corridors, and for other purposes. Claiming that "wildlife treasures of the Northern Rockies are of international significance", the standard environmental group mantra is given that "fragmentation" of wildlife occurs due to roads, harvesting, and mining, all horse pucky. No international significance exists when it comes to Idaho land.
In the bill text, land is divided up into five ecosystems but the bill has nothing to do with ecosystem protection, it is about taking land. Each ecosystem includes Idaho national forests, and all are impacted. Affected areas incorporate land and creeks into currently existing designated wilderness areas and national forests, designate new wilderness areas into what is called the "National Wilderness Preservation System", take land for "biological connecting corridors", all of the areas being too exhaustive to list here. Also defined is "no new road construction or reconstruction, or timber harvest (except firewood gathering) shall be allowed in the lands". Everyone should take the time to see how their own particular area would be affected.
One non-governmental organization (NGO) that has put much effort into increasing federally protected land is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), which covers the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Greater Salmon/Selway Ecosystem, both listed in the bill. GYC is out of Bozeman, Montana, but is also registered in Idaho. Kathy Rinaldi is the Idaho Conservation Coordinator for GYC, and Allison Michalski is the Idaho Conservation Associate. Their focus is "protecting" lands in Idaho from eastern Idaho through the Salmon area. Areas they focus on are included in the bill such as the Custer Gallatin National Forest, and water protection.
In the first 10/1/16-9/30/17' tax return posted below, with a net balance of 10,813,967 dollars, the GYC spent $118,957 in "direct lobbying" to influence a legislative body. $18,788 was spent on "grassroots" lobbying, which is an indirect way of influencing legislative bodies through their members. Another fact found in their tax return is the donation of $27,500 to the National Wildlife Federation for a "grazing allotment buyout", land that will most likely never be used again.
GYC proudly boasts about convincing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to protect Grizzly habitat while partnering with them on other issues, shutting down sheep grazing, and again buying out grazing allotments. Is it no wonder that citizens have no voice on land use when NGOs such as GYC and others have the pocketbook and relationships to get what they want? Giving money to the USFS (pg 30) is just one way as they also partner with Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG), having even been on the "core team" for the development of the State Wildlife Action Plan (Rinaldi, page xii).
For an unknown reason, other than a request for an extension on tax filing, the GYC website lists a different tax form for the same year. In this form, lobbying expenses for the same period came to $116,300 in a payment made to a Washington D.C. lobbying firm, Forbes-Tate Partners. Given the drive for protecting land, did the GYC lobbyist have anything to do with the reintroduction of NREP or the recently signed S. 47?
In the tax forms, GYC specifically states one accomplishment as "permanently protecting Yellowstone's northern gateway from two proposed gold mines", that was in 2017. GYC took credit for the passage of the 2019 Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act that was included in S. 47. President Trump just signed this bill, effectively endorsing the GYC goal of shutting down all gold mining activity north of Yellowstone Park. Do they hold the same lobbying power to take thousands of acres of land for wilderness through NREP? Other accomplishments listed, "conserving public lands...in the Gallatin Range...and...High Divide", and new protections on BLM lands. Water is another focus for "permanent" protection. All of this is addressed in the NREP bill.
Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson are both members of the Congressional Western Conference (CWC), although Rep. Simpson is known for his alignment with NGOs and support for land grab legislation. CWC has a multitude of issues that it covers, one of which is federal land management, claiming too much land is controlled by the federal government and the "checkerboard" of land ownership should be streamlined. Yet at the same time, this group applauded the passage of S.47, which establishes more national monuments, designates more wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers, restores the Land and Water Conservation Fund which is used for land purchases by the federal government and provides money to NGOs for continuation of their agenda. Taking more land is being justified by increased access to public land use "unless specifically designated otherwise". Should the CWC be trusted to oppose NREP, or have GYC lobbyists and others successfully infiltrated, or bought, the caucus? NGOs have become so financially powerful they are now buying logging industries.
From all accounts, it is clear that the federal government has only one intention in mind, take more land and restrict use, leaving citizens they represent out, instead building and funding NGO partnerships to accomplish their goals. NREP is just another example of how we are being robbed of our land. Let your representatives, CWC, and the House Committee on Natural Resources know that you do not support land being taken from us or their support of NGO agendas.
It is well known that the federal government is heavily in bed with non governmental organizations (NGO), especially our resource agencies through the Department of Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). What may not be understood is how big that bed is or why federal agencies continue to implement NGO objectives over the voice of citizens. The Network For Landscape Conservation (NLC) provides the explanation.
The NLC "mission" is advancing "...collaborative, cross border conservation as an essential approach to connect and protect nature, culture, and community". Note should be taken on that cross border statement. This means across states, counties, and countries, the primary country they are referring to is Canada. There is no recognition of jurisdictional boundaries. NLC is a "hub" of organizations and individuals who participate in the agenda to place as much land as possible into conservation. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS), Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), Nature Conservancy, Land Trusts, Bureau of Land Mangement (BLM), conservation zealots, and others all serve on the coordinating committee. NLC membership includes "100-plus organizational partners and 2,000-plus involved practitioners."
While NLC claims to "bring people together", it is really about robbing citizen rights for representation through their elected officials, instead placing decisions with those who have no interest other than implementing their own ideology. By their own admission, they recognize this is a "shift in process" that "...crosses jurisdictional and topical boundaries, transcending traditional decision-making processes (meaning the foundation of our government as a Republic), and top-down hierarchies." It is government run amok with tyranny.
Recently, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives were "discontinued". However, efforts are now underway by USFWS and state agencies to fund the same objective through "public and private partners" and continue their conservation work. NLC is also pursuing funding for their objectives through a newly created Catalyst Fund, with money coming from foundations. This money will be used to help "build capacity", that is, it will bring in more partners to overpower us with their objectives and build up NGO activity. All of their initiatives in Idaho can be found on this map with the names of the groups that are executing their agenda upon us. Get to know those names so you know who you are dealing with, and their objectives. Since the cooperatives were eliminated, or at least diminished in their capacity, the governments and NGOs are now coalescing into organizations such as the NLC, there are many others. This is creating possibly a new, more powerful mass that will increase their threat towards us.
As seen here, NLC partners include the USFS, BLM, National Park Service, USFWS, NGOs, land trusts, foundations, policy centers, and universities. Nowhere to be found are citizens or local governments. It is these groups and individuals who are making decisions with the federal government on land use, if use is even allowed at all. In conjunction with these groups, federal agencies write policies, then, using the Delphi technique, parade around in front of us with a charade of phony collaborative meetings to placate us into believing we have input. Opposing science to theirs is ignored, violating the Data Quality Act, and impacts to local businesses are dissed which is in conflict with the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Included in these ignored laws is the mandate for Coordination, the requirement that a federal agency meet with local governments to ensure consistency in land use policies prior to any action being taken.
While the NLC claims local governments are aware of and support landscape conservation, when is the last time your elected official announced this support to constituents? Is it the intent for local governments, who hold the highest authority for governance closest to the people, to align "...with appropriate state, federal and non-governmental programs to support landscape conservation..."? Or is that support hidden through unelected associations such as the National Association of Counties? NLC admits to incorporating their objectives "...into existing state policies and programs—in traditional conservation programs like State Wildlife Action Plans...". There is no escaping the fact that the intent is to align government policies that support landscape conservation in all levels of government. To learn more about those objectives NLC has archived webinars which provide insight into how these individuals and groups think and their ideology.
The truth is, federal agencies are in partnership with the NLC and its members to develop policy, however the members of the "Policy Working Group" are not identified. A policy paper was written for President Trump shortly after he was elected, deciding for you that you believe in their brand of conservation, asking for continued use of your tax dollar to support them, and supporting the creation of partnerships with the private sector. Perhaps the groups listed in that paper identify those who are part of the working group. This is why citizens cannot get their voice heard, the NLC and all of their cronies have already made the decision with the federal government. In fact, the 1964 Wilderness Act was written by Howard Zahniser from the Wilderness Society. That is how long the NGOs have had control. Completely left out of the equation is local government and citizen involvement. The federal government works for these groups, not us.
For all of those who are experiencing these atrocities on local issues, your voice being ignored in decisions about public land, take this information to your next meeting with a federal agency, start asking questions about their partnerships with NGOs, and provide those NGO names. Make them aware that you know these partnerships exist and ask that documentation of their work with each other is made available to you. Demand answers, you have a right to know who is running the show with these agencies. Publicize your knowledge about this information, identify the groups and players and name them, identify their objectives and how it aligns with federal agency actions. Expose them, confront them, let others know so they can join you. Now is the time to disrupt their agenda and expose the truth.