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MtnGoat
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 1:06 pm 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
I do not want to be an old sourpuss but bullets would have been a lot easier and cheaper.

Intentional slaughter to assuage arbitrary human desires to define and then attempt to control what is 'natural' in any given place, has never been a very good idea.

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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 1:09 pm 
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The Mountain Goats were introduced by a group of sportsmen/hunters ostensibly for the purpose of shooting them for sport.
If that is not "intentional slaughter" by definition, how would you define it?

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Anne Elk
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 1:10 pm 
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I agree with Ski's cost-effective solution.  And the best time for ONP to have pounced on that one was the year that hiker was fatally gored by a goat up on Hurricane Ridge.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 1:18 pm 
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Well there are several ideas that come up in this thread.  I couldn't help but think about changing habitat areas due to climate change.  I'm sure this is seen in many species, but various birds in particular seem to be extending their habitat northward.  The whole idea of what is "native" seems rather fluid to me.  That's partly why I sarcastically brought up European descended humans in the PNW.  Arbitrary decisions by humans about what does and doesn't belong often has unintended consequences.  Not to mention many of the issues with non-native or invasive species is our own doing.  Whether something was introduced for sport (various fish, birds, mammals) or unintentionally (rats and domestic cats in nearly every corner of the globe; pythons run amok in Florida) it often leads to disaster.  It's kind of funny in a keystone kops kind of way, while also sad, to see us continually try to fix our own mistakes.  Meanwhile we can't even slightly manage our own population or impact on an ecosystem, so we're extremely unqualified to elect ourselves as the managers of the populations of every other species.
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Anne Elk
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 1:52 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
we're extremely unqualified to elect ourselves as the managers of the populations of every other species.

We've understood so little about species interdependency throughout our history, and probably still only comprehend a fraction. Even plant and low-life form interdependency. Read a bit of Paul Stamets or listen to his talks online about fungal mycelium, for example.  Just discovered that Indian Paintbrush grows best when it can parasitize other forbs, like lupine.  See A Pretty Parasite.  When I was floating around Antarctica on research ships, I was appalled to discover there's a whole fishery down there (mostly Asian) dedicated to fishing krill for human consumption and fertilizer - krill - the base of the food chain for every critter down there.  How insane is that?

The thing about supposed "revenue neutral" carbon taxes is that I'm not sure it's possible, if you consider gas taxes would affect every aspect of our economy - down to the price of food.  I used to think that the boldest gov't initiative would be something similar to when Pres. Kennedy declared we'd put a man on the moon in 10 years.  How about a declaration to eliminate gas-powered cars in 10 years?  They got lead out of gasoline, after all.  But the gov't won't do that because the oil and auto industry is too powerful.

The state should also incentivize people for not reproducing - the biggest threat to the planet is us. Why do people get tax breaks for reproducing?  I always thought that was completely backwards.  Not politically correct, I guess, but committed singletons deserve a credit for helping decrease the surplus population.  hockeygrin.gif

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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 5:36 pm 
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OlderThanIUsedToBe wrote:
Well there are several ideas that come up in this thread.  I couldn't help but think about changing habitat areas due to climate change.  I'm sure this is seen in many species, but various birds in particular seem to be extending their habitat northward.  The whole idea of what is "native" seems rather fluid to me.  That's partly why I sarcastically brought up European descended humans in the PNW.  Arbitrary decisions by humans about what does and doesn't belong often has unintended consequences.  Not to mention many of the issues with non-native or invasive species is our own doing.  Whether something was introduced for sport (various fish, birds, mammals) or unintentionally (rats and domestic cats in nearly every corner of the globe; pythons run amok in Florida) it often leads to disaster.  It's kind of funny in a keystone kops kind of way, while also sad, to see us continually try to fix our own mistakes.  Meanwhile we can't even slightly manage our own population or impact on an ecosystem, so we're extremely unqualified to elect ourselves as the managers of the populations of every other species.

You have raised some salient points worth thoughtful consideration.

During a phone conversation with an ONP staffer years ago, the subject of non-indigenous invasive species came up. The staffer asked a question that I still remember: "How do we know for sure that this isn't all part of some grand plan?"
Perhaps the global homogenization of all species of plants and animals is part of some larger scheme over which (in spite of our arrogance and hubris) we actually have no control.

Humans had nothing to do with the encroachment of the Barred Owl into the Spotted Owl's habitat range, or the migration of the Scrub Jay into Western Washington, and it certainly wasn't by any human design that the Canada Goose took up year-round residence locally.
These events, as well as others, happened of their own accord, without our influence or interference.

On the other hand, in virtually every case where humans have introduced a non-native species into a foreign environment, it's resulted in unintended consequences. Arguably most of these instances have resulted in detrimental consequences: the snake, and subsequently the mongoose in the Hawaiian Islands; the aforementioned domestic cat worldwide; the rabbits in Australia; Zebra mussels in the Great Lakes; Mountain Goats on the Olympic Peninsula; white Europeans on the North American continent; ad infinitum.

Certainly there are cases where there is little that can be done (English Ivy, anyone?) But in those cases where we can make a difference, we should at least make the attempt.

The reasons for the removal of the Mountain Goats from the Olympic Peninsula have already been stated above. Whether or not one agrees that the virtual extermination of a few obscure and little-known species of flora will make a significant difference in the larger picture is open for debate, but it is (as previously mentioned) the Congressionally mandated obligation of the National Park Service to preserve and protect those native species which are unique to Olympic National Park. From a legal perspective, the Park had no choice: sooner or later the matter would be litigated.

But that aside, let me throw out a couple examples that all of us are far more familiar with than Mountain Goats and rare and obscure plant species: Himalaya Blackberry (Rubus discolor), and Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius).
You've all seen both of these growing along the medians along I-5, in vacant lots, on abandoned farms in the Green River valley, and everywhere else.
The Himalaya Blackberry wasn't introduced to the North American continent until 1885. In the last 133 years, it has proliferated and taken over huge swaths of the American west. While it provides great foraging and nesting habitat for small songbirds, it crowds out native vegetation.
The Scotch Broom came later, and moved up the I-5 corridor in the late 1950s and early 1960s from California with the construction of I-5. There was no Scotch Broom west of Exit 104 when I was a kid. Now it's all the way out to the coast. As with the blackberry, it crowds out the native vegetation and (in some cases) creates real problems: the DNR fought it for years to eradicate it from the Mima Mounds just south of Tumwater.

There are dozens and dozens of non-native invasive plants that have been introduced into our ecosystems that are causing all kinds of issues. English Ivy (Hedera helix) kills trees. Rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora and C. madagascariensis) strangles trees in Hawaii. English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) overruns everything in its path.

OlderThanIUsedToBe wrote:
It's kind of funny in a keystone kops kind of way, while also sad, to see us continually try to fix our own mistakes.  Meanwhile we can't even slightly manage our own population or impact on an ecosystem, so we're extremely unqualified to elect ourselves as the managers of the populations of every other species.

Valid points, but I believe it's worth making the effort to do what can be done to minimize the damage.

The west side of the Olympics would not be quite the same if the river valleys were overrun with Himalaya Blackberry, Evergreen Blackberry, Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle, Foxglove, and Scotch Broom, none of which existed in this corner of the continent 150 years ago.

Back to the goats: it would be a hell of a lot easier to simply kill all the goats than it will ever be to eliminate all the non-native plant species that have invaded our wild spaces.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 5:58 pm 
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I've definitely seen blackberry, Scotch broom and foxglove (and probably other invasives) various places.  Seems virtually impossible to control some of those.

I'm just throwing out a little snark.  Obviously multiple generations of people that originally migrated to North America from Europe aren't going to leave, and I'm not suggesting they should.

Maybe shooting all of the Olympics goats would've been the easiest solution.  I would've felt bad about that outcome.  And yes National Parks aren't the same as National Forest or suburbs, etc. etc.  There is a mandate to preserve it in it's natural state.  I was just pointing out that natural state really depends on what period of time you are looking at, and has been highly variable during the course of Earth's history.
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 6:07 pm 
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OlderThanIUsedToBe wrote:
I'm just throwing out a little snark.

It's quite alright - I get it. I'm not offended. My feelings aren't hurt.

You're not the first person with whom I've discussed this issue. Most people I talk to about it who are outside my very small circle of close acquaintances think I'm a card-carrying lunatic when it comes to non-indigenous plants. I'm used to that - it's not a big deal.

There's an old saying about "choosing your battles".
Killing the Mountain Goats is one battle that could be won. Quickly, easily, cheaply, and finally.
Why the Park chooses not to do it boggles the mind. Their "management plan" will drag it out until hell freezes over twice, after which there may still be resident goats on the Peninsula. dizzy.gif

I would not for a moment feel bad about killing the goats. It wouldn't bother me one little bit.
I understand they're good eating when cooked in a stew. wink.gif

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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 6:12 pm 
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My personal hatred is directed toward English Ivy, Hedera Helix also known as devils weed, rat haven, and green death.

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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
"My personal hatred is directed toward English Ivy..."

Which has been designated as a noxious weed in the State of Oregon.

OlderThanIUsedToBe wrote:
"...that natural state really depends on what period of time you are looking at..."

In the case of Olympic National Park, I suppose it would be fair to say the period of time around 1938, when the Park was created.
At that time, the goats had only been there about 10 years.
In 1975, when Sallie Williams authored her paper "Abandoned Homesteads of the Queets River Valley", the Himalaya Blackberry (Rubus discolor) and Canada Thistle (Cissium Arvense) (both introduced by the original homesteaders in the valley) were exclusive to Andrews Field (about a mile-and-a-half upstream of the campground.) The Evergreen Blackberry (R. laciniatus) was only found in the lower valley.
Currently all three species are spread up and down the entire river valley (at least as far up as Pelton and Alta Creeks.) (source: Paradise Fire Burned Area Rehabilitation Report Olympic National Park Coles 2017)


At that time, there was no Canada Thistle or Bull Thistle growing on the gravel bars or in the alder flats along the river, there was no foxglove along the lower road, and there was no Scotch Broom growing alongside Hwy 101 just outside the Park boundary.

The "natural state" would have been the way this guy found it when he first went up there in 1933 or 1934:

John Dewitt Kirk Jr. - Queets River August 1937
John Dewitt Kirk Jr. - Queets River August 1937

For me, it is a personal affront that the National Park Service has been unable to keep it that way.

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Anne Elk
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 8:34 pm 
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Ski wrote:
Humans had nothing to do with the encroachment of the Barred Owl into the Spotted Owl's habitat range, or the migration of the Scrub Jay into Western Washington, and it certainly wasn't by any human design that the Canada Goose took up year-round residence locally. These events, as well as others, happened of their own accord, without our influence or interference.

Ski, you made some great points, but the researcher in me just had to check out your claim re the barred owl, scrub jay and Canada goose; it appears that you're wrong, or partly so, on two counts.

The most interesting is the barred owl.  Humans (indiginous peoples) first inhibited the owl's spread, then facilitated it:

Wikipedia wrote:
The historical lack of trees in the Great Plains acted as a barrier to the range expansion ... Increases in forest distribution along the Missouri River and its tributaries provided barred owls with sufficient foraging habitat, protection from the weather, and concealment from avian predators to allow barred owls to move westward. Decades later, increases in forests in the northern Great Plains allowed them to connect their eastern and western distributions across southern Canada. These increases in forests were caused by European-American settlers via their exclusion of fires historically set by Native Americans, by their suppression of accidental fires and by increased tree-planting; to a lesser degree this regional net forest increase was also caused by these settlers' extirpating bison (Bison bison) and by overhunting elk (Cervus elaphus), deer (Odocoileus spp.) and, in some areas, by extirpating beaver (Castor canadensis) and replacing native ungulates with livestock.  Increase in trees in the Great Plains from fire suppression or tree planting is considered a main cause of the range expansions of many other species of birds including western kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis), eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchus).[

This isn't quite the same as introducing a foreign species, but human intervention still played a role. Similar thing with the Canada goose:

Quote:
In recent years, Canada goose populations in some areas have grown substantially, ... partially due to the removal of natural predators and an abundance of safe, man-made bodies of water near food sources, such as those found on golf courses, in public parks and beaches, and in planned communities. Due in part to the interbreeding of various migratory subspecies with the introduced nonmigratory giant subspecies, Canada geese are frequently a year-around feature of such urban environments. source: Wikipedia

Re the scrub jay, I used to think its appearance in Seattle was due to climate change, as I'd once believed it usually wasn't seen north of the Columbia.  But in fact, (according to Wikipedia), there are many sub-species of Aphelocoma, the range of at least one extending into to BC. Some of the other sub-species may have extended their range "naturally", but I'm not enough of a birder to be able to make such fine subspecies distinctions out in the field.

The important point is that plant and animal species co-evolved in discreet ecosystems which contain them by dint of some kind of barrier; geographic formations, and climate.  Humans have drastically upset this balance via deliberate importation, accelerated extinction, and radically changing the habitat.  What a pox on the planet we are, eh?

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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Wow! Well, I stand corrected.

In the case of the Barred Owl, that doesn't come to me as any surprise. I've argued for years that the indigenous tribes of the North American continent burned and burned and burned and burned the landscape, but some still dismiss the idea.

And here I thought the Canada Goose was hanging out here because of all the grain they dump out onto the tracks down at the grain terminal on Ruston Way. wink.gif
I remember when they took up residence at our cabin on the Nisqually in the late 1980s. We thought it was something really unique. I bought cracked corn in 50-pound bags to feed them.
By the late 1990s there were so many of them up at my mother's house on Lake Tapps that the dock down on the lake was literally unusable for all the goose crap on it. eck.gif

My old Audubon bird guide shows the habitat range of the Scrub Jay as being much farther south of here. I have two of them who hang out in my back yard nearly every day. Maybe I need an updated edition. wink.gif

Thanks for digging that stuff up. up.gif

Anne Elk wrote:
What a pox on the planet we are, eh?

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

- Confucius


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Anne Elk
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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 10:24 pm 
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Ski -  I forget how many years it's been since a pair of scrub jays began showing up to the feeder in my yard.  It was before the latest neighborhood development craze here in Seattle, and a couple years after I bought my place, so between 2001-2006.  I'd never seen one before and had to look it up, but my reference book wasn't very comprehensive - I think it's where I got the idea that scrub jay range was normally only as far north as the Columbia. Subsequent research turned up a website with pics of a guy feeding scrub jays from his hand, which was pretty surprising, considering the ones visiting my yard were even more skittish than crows.

The Canada goose population in the city (at least around Green Lake) has been significantly reduced, if not completely eradicated by a city extermination campaign some years ago - I think it was a combo of spraying the eggs, and goose capture.  The poop problem at the park was bad enough that the collective will to take care of it overcame any objections.

Re the barred owl - I think I read something a while back re a proposal to shoot them, to help the spotted owls. Don't know if that idea went anywhere.

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PostMon Oct 22, 2018 11:47 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
The Canada goose population in the city (at least around Green Lake) has been significantly reduced, if not completely eradicated by a city extermination campaign some years ago - I think it was a combo of spraying the eggs, and goose capture.  The poop problem at the park was bad enough that the collective will to take care of it overcame any objections.

At Wapato Park in South Tacoma, the Canada Goose fouled the lake and the park to the degree you literally couldn't walk anywhere with 50 yards of the lake without stepping in goose crap. They sprayed the eggs and started writing citations to a few locals who were feeding them pillow-sized bags of day-old bread on a daily basis. The situation is under control, but the lake - the largest lake in Tacoma - is still a virtual cesspool and unusable for swimming.

I had to pull my bird feeder down because of the rats and raccoons around here. Sometimes when those two Scrub Jays show up I'll toss them a few nuts - they really like almonds and filberts. wink.gif

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PostTue Oct 23, 2018 1:19 pm 
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I had a previous superintendent tell me the NPS wasnt going to do anymore about the goats before the Elwha project was essentially complete. I pretty sure this was after the first wave removal of ca half the population. Capacity was mentioned, but implied with that bureau speak they are masters of was anything  that was going to have possible political downside to the Park was on hold, and that this came from above the Oly NPS level.

When youre getting the biggest chunk of change, lawyers, political will, ...., you dont get to say, and can I have a third piece of (skis) pie.

Best.

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