"When People Show You Who They Are...Believe Them" Maya Angelou
The new Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) ‘road ecology specialist’ is Renee Seidler. She has lived in Bozeman, MT, Jackson Hole WY, and several other states in the Pacific and Southwest regions. A large body of her work was conducted as a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) employee, an international NGO.
This will not be her first time studying Hwy 20. Following a 4 year study, Ms. Seidler co-authored a road ecology report with Tim Cramer from ITD, the Cramer/Seidler Study: US 20 Road Ecology in the Island Park Caldera, 2014. Jon Beckmann (WCS Connectivity Initiative Coordinator) and Shane Roberts, ITD employee, also participated in this study.
The former “road ecology resource specialist” was Patricia Cramer from Utah State University. Ms. Cramer authored two studies, one on wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC) for the entire state of Idaho in 2014, and the second on US 20 Safety Solutions in 2016 with District 6 ITD environmental planner Tim Cramer. The Safety Solutions report recommended 17 over and underpass structures throughout the Hwy 20 corridor. Three studies, Cramer, Cramer-Cramer and Cramer-Seidler, all studying the same issue. How many studies do we need on Hwy 20, and at what cost to the Idaho taxpayer? What more is there to study except how overpasses can be utilized for wildlife connectivity, Ms. Seidler’s area of expertise?
Renee Seidler and Michael Whitfield, Heart Of The Rockies (HOR) Executive Director, participated in the 2014 Crossing Boundaries: Science, Management & Conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Conference, held at Yellowstone National Park. They gave presentations and discussions on CONNECTIVITY extending out from Yellowstone.
In Concurrent session #5b will you find them:
1) The Growing Wildland-Exurban Development Area Interface
Michael B. Whitfield - Partnerships and Science to link Yellowstone National Park to protected areas and local communities across the High Divide.
2) Renee Seidler - Identifying impediments to long-distance mammal migrations.
3) and pg. 19…Great Northern Land Conservation Cooperative Network
Ms. Seidler is known for her work in the WCS as the Associate Conservationist in the North America Program. She was also the Wildlife Overpass Interpretive Site leader in Pinedale. Her most recent focus of work was largely in the species area of pronghorns.
It is most likely that Renee Seidler is an outstanding professional in her field, just as Patricia Cramer is, but her expertise lends itself to a CONNECTIVITY goal and also to wildlife overpass structure solutions within wildlife migration corridors. Is that the proposal the Hwy 20 Study Team is considering? It is difficult to determine given their limited engagement with the IP community.
Ms. Seidler is not an independent researcher coming without a pre-determined mind-set or analytical bias. Her addition to the study team is a clear indication that overpass structures are the only solution for Targhee Pass the project team intends to offer.
As the Hwy 20 Proposed Project keeps changing, with new faces being introduced, and increasing public concern with questions being expressed about this project, each new step taken by ITD reveals an end goal that becomes more clear, wildlife overpasses.
We are watching a process that suggests a pre-determined outcome, involving collaborative associations and consultants with bodies of work that are aligned with the same ideology.
Three studies on Hwy 20, all conducted during a similar time frame in Fremont County, lends one to assume…something must be up. All three studies conclude that wildlife overpasses are recommended for wildlife corridor planning towards connectivity.
The Wildlife Conservation Society…hmmmm…isn’t that who Renee Seidler works for? Jon Beckmann is her boss and she just completed work in Wyoming on wildlife overpasses. What do you think she brings to the project?
The federal and state government agencies are not allowed to engage in private planning, design, policy and decision making activities without the consent and the involvement of The Public that they serve.
IP, as a community, has seen the complete absence of full disclosure and honest engagement in the initial planning and study phases which federal and state agencies and their partnering NGOs started here 7 years ago when Ms. Seidler started her first study in 2010.
There are delays, restructuring of the process which invites NEPA questions, limited engagement with the public, and significant non-disclosures involving future planning for Hwy 20. Through research many issues have been discovered.
UPDATE TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE
The second ITD workshop was held in Island park in July. Renee Seidler had a presentation on the ITD alternatives solutions that evening. She was accompanied by Kim Trotter, National director of Y2Y and the local face of the island park safe wildlife passage Initiative which is promoting 3 wildlife overpasses at Taghee Pass.
Renee Seidler’s role here no longer needs to be surmised. Her role here is apparent with a IDFG contract for a 3 year term. At the end of 3 years, ITD has projected a budget for 22 million dollars to be spent at Targhee Pass. Renee Seidler’s presentation that night was completely about the wildlife overpass alternative and associated costs.
Making Sense of It All
This blog will help you make sense out of all the information on the website, how it affects IP, previous articles in the IP News, our history, and how efforts continue to put IP into various forms of conservation status.