Powell, WY

Wind: NNW at 10 mph

Gib Mathers

Gloom and doom is not in the immediate forecast for local irrigators, even though the mountain snow pack is nearly depleted.

As of Monday, the snow water equivalent in the Shoshone River basin was at 60 percent of the 30-year average, compared to 145 percent on the same date last year. The Big Horn River basin is worse — 57 percent, compared to 224 percent May 21, 2011. The good news is the Big Horn Basin is faring better than most of Wyoming, with the exceptions of the Madison and Yellowstone river basins at 78 and 73 percent respectively. The Upper Bear River basin was melted out, and the statewide SWE average stood at 22 percent.

The Cody Elk Group has completed its work. The group’s recommendations will be presented to the Cody Game and Fish office in the near future, then to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
Although there are nearly 2,000 more elk in the Cody Elk herd than the population objective set by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, calf birth and survival rates are low in some areas.

Lousy luck is as good a reason as any to explain a barn fire that killed some stock and two dogs Thursday night in Clark.
A pony, a ewe, two lambs and two dogs succumbed to the blaze off Road 1AB on Line Creek, near the Shoshone National Forest boundary.

Snow is melting quickly in the Absaroka Mountains, but so far reservoirs in the Big Horn Basin are filling or are expected to do so.

Water storage in the local big three reservoirs — Buffalo Bill, Boysen and Big Horn/Yellowtail — is looking pretty good.

Yellowstone Lake cutthroat trout may be increasing ever so slightly, and that is welcome news. But efforts to decimate lake trout must continue with dogged determination, experts say.

According to rough estimates, between 300,000 and 400,000 non-native adult lake trout dwell in Yellowstone Lake. To save cutthroats, the lake must be rid of the intruding lake trout and their spawn.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department posted a draft addendum to the Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan, mostly in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s peer review panel summary report proposing delisting the wolf.

The addendum clarifies how Wyoming will maintain a sustainable wolf population, said Mark Bruscino, statewide supervisor of the large carnivore management section.

But legal challenges likely to continue

Gov. Matt Mead signed Wyoming’s wolf management bill Wednesday, following nearly unanimous support of the bill by both houses of the Wyoming Legislature.

Senate File 41 sticks closely to the agreement Mead hammered out with the federal government last fall. It would allow predator zones in much of the state and a trophy game area in a portion of northwest Wyoming, where a license would be required to hunt the canines.

An investigation into the second of two fatal grizzly bear attacks last summer at Yellowstone National Park was unable to conclude if the same bear was responsible for both deaths, a report released Monday said.

Brian Matayoshi, 57, was killed July 6. His death was witnessed by his wife, Marylyn Matayoshi.

The Cody Elk Working Group discussed splitting herds, predation and hunter equality Monday night.

Following a news release announcing the group would meet at Big Horn Federal Savings Bank in Cody, about 30 people attended plus a few members of the press. As it has been since the group’s inception last spring, members of the public were allowed to speak only at the end of the meeting.

Powell shutterbug snaps third in photo contest

Bob Cochran is proud to be listed among the many talented local wildlife photographers that placed in Wyoming Wildlife magazine’s annual photo contest over the years.

Cochran of Powell photographed a coyote tossing a vole in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley last June. His picture placed third in the magazine’s wildlife photography division this year.

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