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Audubon News

Newsletter of Prairie Hills Audubon Society of Western South Dakota Inc.

February, 2020

UPDATES ON PHAS LITIGATION TO Nancy Hilding would love to hear from any mem-
PROTECT GREATER SAGE GROUSE bers concerned about the greater sage grouse and/or
have experience with them or have visited, watched or pho-
tographed them in any state in the west. Nancy’s phones
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION and e-mails - 605-787-6466 or cell 605-877-2620, nhild-
On October 16, 2019 a group of allies -- Advocates PHAS shares members with the National Audubon Soci-
for the West, Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS), Center ety (NAS). We get about $560 per year from the National
for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and Western Audubon Society (NAS) as a fixed annual grant, irrespec-
Watersheds Project successfully blocked Trump administra- tive of the number of members we share with NAS or the
tion plans allowing expanded drilling, mining, livestock net amount of their dues/donations to NAS. We run this
grazing and other destructive activities across 51 million chapter with the work, support & direct donations of volun-
acres of greater sage-grouse habitat on Bureau of Land teers & members/friends, however our budget is limited.
Management’s land in seven western states: Idaho, ----------------------------------
Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Ne vada, California, and Ore- March 5th 2020, GFP Commission Hearing
gon! This is the date that the Game, Fish and Parks Commis-
In his order granting a preliminary injunction, U.S. sion will have a hearing on the 2020 version of the Nest
District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled that the admin- Predator Bounty Program, championed by Kristi Noem.
istration failed with analysis of how sage grouse would be It will be at the RedRossa Convention Center at 808 West
harmed under the March 2019 land-use plans. This ruling Sioux Avenue in Pierre. Public comment deadline using
throws a wrench into the Trump administration’s efforts to their online form is midnight Sunday March 1st. See our
weaken protections for the greater sage-grouse and expand PHAS web site for info. --
the uses of public lands for extractive industries like oil and This is killing of predators is justified by not-scientifically
gas and livestock grazing. PHAS and our co-plaintiffs were justified & debunked theories on how to increase pheasants
able to move quickly to get the Trump administration’s and duck populations. Pheasants are an exotic species that
plans to court before a Judge, because we were already in competes with the greater prairie chicken, whose population
litigation over the Obama era greater sage grouse plans. is declining -- losing half it’s population every decade.
The BLM has appealed the injunction. The BLM is OTHER EVENTS
also planning to release Supplemental Environmental Im- -- Events with dates and details that are not yet fixed --
pact Statements (SEIS) soon, in an effort to fix shortcom- We hope to have a PHAS meeting(s) on SDGFP’s nest
ings in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. predator bounty program in late February.
In spring of 2016 PHAS, Western Watersheds Proj- We hope to have a meeting on our greater sage grouse liti-
ect, the Center for Biological Diversity & WildEarth gation sometime in the spring, maybe in late March.
Guardians filed litigation to protect the greater sage grouse. We will need help manning a booth at Earth Day and we
The Obama Administration had amended management may plan an Audubon Birthday Celebration on 4/26/20.
plans to improve the protections the Forest Service and We are having about 2 meetings w/ meals per month. To be
BLM provided for the sage grouse. While the new manage- informed of those, be sure to send us your e-mail address.
ment was an improvement over the past, we believe that too ----------- Fixed Dates of Events ---------------
many compromises/concessions had been made and not January 14th- March 12th & 30th SD Legislative Session
enough progress existed to protect grouse from extinction in January 15th- February 15th - Climate Watch Period
the long term. We did not ask for a stay against the amend- January 13th-April 6th, 2020 Entry Period National Audubon’s
ments in 2016, but sought to ask for changes if we won. (NAS) Photo Contest
This litigation was put on hold, when Trump won the February 14-February 17th - Great Backyard Bird Count
election and announced his intention to rewrite the Obama March 20 and 21, 50th NAS Crane Festival, in Kearny Ne-
era plan amendments. In March 2019 the Trump administra- braska
tion finalized those changes, which would have terrible im- Saturday, April 25th, Earth Day Expo. at WDT
pacts to sage grouse. We filed to supplement the existing Sunday April 26th, John James Audubon’s Birthday,
litigation in order to oppose the new Trump era proposals Saturday May 2nd, tentative date of La Creek NWR field
and to ask for a preliminary injunction to return the BLM to trip Saturday (please verify date -- when we closer to date)
the Obama era decisions until the Court issued a final deci- Friday, May 15th, in the evening will be the Endangered
sion on our claims. Species Day Celebration - PHAS always organizes an En-
This litigation effort represents at least 7 years of work. dangered Species Day Celebration on the third Friday in
To achieve standing to sue, we and co-clients had to com- May.
ment on multiple documents (15 EISs in 2013) and appeal SD Legislature
decisions, in 10 states for 2 agencies, through 2 administra- We follow the SD Legislature and provide bill tracking service
tions. We are represented by Advocates for the West, a non- on our web site and we send out occasional alerts and/or post such
profit, public interest law firm and are very grateful to our alerts to the web site. -- Visit the PHAS web site to see what we
lawyers and co-clients. have posted or give us your e-mail address to receive alerts and
You can find more information about the law- bill tracking information. We have our discussion “meetings with
suits on our web site, on the home and project web pages. meals” during the legislature to discuss such. The Sierra Club is
bringing their lobbyist to Rapid City on February 12th to discuss
Links to filings in the lawsuit are provided or Nancy can
the legislature with their members and friends. Watch our web site
send you electronic documents or links. for info on the legislature.
Prairie Hills Audubon Society is run by volunteers, we need new volunteers to help run organization, but we are especially looking for
new Board Members. For information contact Nancy or Mary Jo whose contact info. is listed on the label fold. Visit our web site to
stay updated on our & other organization’s functions. Please send us your e-mail address so we can send you PHAS announcements.
If members are interested in having meetings in other towns besides Rapid City, let Nancy Hilding know. If we had a few interested
folks we could at least have social meeting(s) at a restaurant. We need new volunteer(s) to help with our web page.

Climate Watch - January 15 - February15th Hilding 787-6466, Another Climate

Via Climate Watch birders help the National Audubon Society Watch season will occur in June.
(NAS) collect data on birds. NAS is trying to understand cli-
mate changes effects on birds better. National Audubon Society's Annual Photo contest
Birding occurs at 12 points in a 10 kilometer square area. Each January 13th-April 6th, is the 2020 Entry Period
volunteer chooses one or more small circle(s) within the square We suggest members google the photo contest and especially
area from a grid supplied by the NAS. Volunteer(s) needs to look at past years winners, some beautiful photos of birds will
bird for 5 minutes at one or more of 12 points (small circles) and be seen. We have links up on our web site.
collect data on either all birds seen or on a few target species,
Volunteers count birds & thus document how ranges of blue- Project to record Lakota Language bird names.
birds, nuthatches, goldfinches, towhees, or Painted Bunting are PHAS wants to start a project, working with high school sci-
shifting. Someone must send the data into NAS via e-bird. Data ence teacher and students at Little Wound School in Kyle SD, to
compiled by volunteers helped Audubon scientists confirm mod- identify & record Lakota language names for bird species in SD.
els for Audubon’s latest climate report, Survival by Degrees: 389 This would entail students talking to elders. We likely also need
Bird Species on the Brink. (Go to NAS web page to learn more). to study tribal wildlife/historic records. To help with this project
"The Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink" we seek donations of used birding guide books or binoculars or
indicates which birds are under threat from climate change. For cash to purchase such for the students.. Contact Nancy for more
more info. visit NAS or PHAS web pages or contact Nancy information. 787-6466,

Prairie Hills Audubon Society is a Chapter of the National Audubon Society; our territory is much of West River SD. Nancy Hild-
ing - President,, 605-787-466 or 6779, Helen McGinnis - Treasurer,, Doris Re-
spects Nothing - Secretary,, MaryJo Farrington - Board member, 605-716-2151, Jim Petersen - Board
member,, Dan Licht - Web site designer. PHAS web site : - We have a Facebook - Prairie Hills Audubon Society of Western South Dakota, Facebook. Our e-mail address is

Prairie Hills Audubon Society B
KER ry 8th,
P.O. Box 788 R A C a ry 9t h . US. POSTAGE
C bru ru a
ONT day Fe ay Feb
Black Hawk, SD 57718 M
D r d
PIE Satu ing Sun
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We need help with our web site, as our web designer of years is moving away and we need someone who understands
web sites to help work with the web site. Conversely, if anyone understands Dreamweaver, they could help by teach-
ing Nancy how to run the site with Dreamweaver, as Nancy has that software - this option would not be perpetual help
with the site, but just a short tutorial, so Nancy can run site independently. ( or 787-6466)
Foothills Area Cracker Barrel list of cracker barrels.
Piedmont, SD, 2/8/2020 February 9th, 5:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Prairie Hills Audubon Society’s Dinner meeting
When - Saturday, February 8th, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
PHAS has been scheduling lunch or dinner meetings about
Where - American Legion Post 311, Piedmont
twice a month at Hana’s Restaurant, 3550 Sturgis Rd in
Who - Legislators for Districts 29 and 33 have been in-
Rapid City. These are scheduled by doodle poll with those
have attended before and are announced via e-mail and on
This is our tenth year of having such a Cracker Barrel.
our web site and Facebook pages. We may start scheduling
PHAS is one of the five co-sponsors of this annual event.
meal meetings in the northern Hills. The February agenda
PHAS’s address is in Black Hawk - so it is sort of our 'local
will include discussion of 1. Nest Predator Bounty Pro-
community" event each year. More info is on our web site
gram, 2. Bills in the legislature 3. Networking issues/pro-
or Facebook page & the Facebook events listing is:
jects that local environmental group leaders want to share
with others. Hanas serves Korean/Japanese food, it is lo-
The Legion is located at intersection of Sturgis Rd and Pine
cated in Rapid City, NE of the intersection of Sturgis Road
St.. On the PHAS web site, each year we keep a statewide
and West Chicago. Hana's web site:

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