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Articles written by Ron Stoneberg

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    Ron Stoneberg, Valley County Conservation District|Mar 31, 2021

    The Valley County Conservation District has been trying to alert their constituents, and others, about how the federal government is succeeding in taking the vested water rights away from the Federal Grazing District allotment holders without any just compensation. The feds were aided by our Montana Water Court and the Montana Supreme Court which both ruled in favor of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Beaver Creek (south Phillips and Valley counties) adjudication. These courts may... Full story

  • On American Prairie

    Ron Stoneberg, Hinsdale, MT|May 23, 2018

    Dear Editor, I recently read an American Prairie Reserve (APR) article titled, ‘Freese Scale for Grassland Biodiversity, Background Summary.’ This strange document was designed to justify the program proposed by APR. They rate 10 ‘ecological conditions’ for each of their management units and come up with a biodiversity score. For example, the Timber Creek Unit (the old Etchart Ranch) had a total score or 17 out of 70. The reasons for the low ‘Herbivory Pattern’ included, “unnatural hydrology; Interior fences; Rest-rotation grazing syste...

  • The BLM's Bias is Showing

    Ron Stoneberg, Hinsdale, MT|May 9, 2018

    I was very disturbed by the interview editor Etherington had with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) District Manager Mark Albers as reported in the April 25, 2018 Glasgow Courier. Mr. Albers, “clarified that nothing in the scoping period would determine if the agency would conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS)...” He then went on to clarify, “that the EA would have one of two outcomes: Either the agency would certify a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and move ahead with allowing American Prairie’s request or they would i...

  • Private Property Rights

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Dec 20, 2017

    I was dismayed to recently read that when a California resident who bought a ranch, that had previously been farmed, attempted to return it to grain crops; he was visited by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bureaucrat who ordered him to cease and desist. Apparently, this over zealous bureaucrat decided the isolated, intermittent, puddles in the middle of the field fell under the protection of the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rules. When the landowner pled guilty (to avoid horrendous legal costs) he was fined the incredible amount of...

  • Endangered Species Act: Part II

    Ron Stoneberg|Oct 11, 2017

    The ESA is broken. So what can we do to fix it? Ideally, privately owned lands should be removed from all applications of the Act. However, this would take an act of Congress. Good luck! The Constitution of the United States Amendment V stated, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” The questions are what constitutes private property and what is a ‘taking’? Is preventing a landowner from performing a certain act (i.e. plowing, building a fence or road, etc.) on their private property a taking? The dra...

  • The Endangered Species Act

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Oct 4, 2017

    Most people agree. The Endangered Species Act (Act or ESA) is broken. The concerns and issues originally addressed by the Act were real and its goals were very popular. The intent of the Act was valid but problems have arisen with the implementation. Unfortunately, the Act did not differentiate between federal and state-owned and/or managed lands and vested private property. This omission has given state and federal agencies considerable power to regulate actions and land uses on private lands. They have used this power, goaded on by...

  • Open Letter to the Legislature

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Jan 25, 2017

    As the 65th MT Legislative Session opened for business last week, the usual calls for budget cuts were exceedingly shrill. What made matters worse this year was the loss of revenue due to the demise of the coal and oil and gas industries in Montana. We knew this day of reckoning was coming, so now the budget knives are being sharpened and the fun has begun. I have a suggestion. In the last legislative session the Governor proposed (and the legislature dutifully passed) $10 million to assist sage grouse populations. This was in addition to the...

  • Report: CMR Working Group

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Sep 21, 2016

    I recently attended a meeting of the Charles M. Russell NWR - Community Working Group (CMR-CWG) in Fort Peck. As I was driving home and thinking about all of the brilliant comments I should have made, it struck me that something was very wrong. The more I thought about it, I realized what the problem was. In my opinion, this working group is a non-governmental entity formed to allow stakeholders to brainstorm ways the surrounding communities could benefit ecologically and economically by working with the CMR---and vise versa. Most of us living... Full story

  • The Disconnect Between Science and Reality

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Jun 8, 2016

    I recently had the privilege of visiting with a couple of ranchers from near the Grasslands National Park (NP) in Saskatchewan, Canada. I heard the amazing story that when cattle were removed from the park, the resident wildlife also left. The decline in grassland dependent birds was very noticeable. In particular, one rancher observed the sage grouse left when the cattle were removed. This rancher was subsequently contracted by the park to reintroduce his cattle to these over-rested pastures. Amazingly, the sage grouse returned to the area gra...

  • A Rancher's Worst Nightmare

    Ron Stoneberg, Managing Management|Mar 23, 2016

    Remember the spotted owl? As I recall this bird was going extinct if we didn’t shut down the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest. It was shut down causing untold economic, social and, with the recent forest fires, ecologic damage. Did it save the owl? Has anyone heard anything lately? The last I heard its relative, the barred owl, was moving in and replacing the spotted owl. Remember the chant of the bureaucrats and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) that we had to save the spotted owl’s habitat. At that time their habitat was def...

  • Counties in the Crosshairs

    Ron Stoneberg, Tracking Bison|Feb 17, 2016

    It is interesting to watch the American Prairie Reserve ramp up its public relations effort by bringing out their top gun, Sean Gerrity. His recent letter to the editor perpetuated the myth that bison magically time control their grazing. If this were true, why did Lewis and Clark find such poor condition range land in their travels through this country? Sean, the difference between commercial bison herds and your herd is not numbers but the fact they manage their animals. You will learn, as many of them did, that unmanaged ungulates will...

  • What's In a Name?

    Ron Stoneberg, Letter To The Editor|Aug 26, 2015

    “What's in a Name” How did that line go? What’s in a name? A rose would smell as sweet . . . It seems MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is following Shakespeare’s musings. We no longer hear about ‘wild, free-ranging’ bison. Now they are being labeled as a ‘native species’ and FWP is looking for, “somewhere in Montana where animals (bison) could be managed as a native species”. Apparently, FWP does not know the meaning of either ‘species’ or ‘native’. All plains bison in North America (federal, private and Indian Reservation herds) belong t...

  • Gauging the Greater Sage Grouse Listing Dilemma

    Ron Stoneberg, Guest Column|Jun 10, 2015

    The time is rapidly approaching when the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has to do something or get-off-the-pot concerning listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, a reprieve may be in the making as Congress debates a bill that would postpone listing for another 10 years. I would bet the Service and their supporters are quietly lobbying hard for passage of this bill since it not only lets them off the hook (I will try to explain why this is...

  • Sage Grouse Saga Continues

    Ron Stoneberg, My Opinion|Feb 18, 2015

    The sage grouse ‘listing’ saga continues unabated in Montana. To date the many working groups, advisory boards, committees, etc. have spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars on this issue. Why? Because the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is threatening to list the bird as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA defines a ‘threatened species’ as, “any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future...” and an ‘endangered species’ as, “any species which is...

  • FWP Deals With Fort Peck Tribes, Not Public

    Ron Stoneberg, Guest Column|Dec 17, 2014

    A month or so ago Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) gathered up over 100 Yellowstone Park bison that had spent the last 5 years in quarantine on Ted Turner’s Green Ranch (for a percent of the calf crop) and hauled them to the sovereign nation of Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Apparently with only one mortality this time! While no one has a problem with the Reservation receiving Yellowstone Park bison, some may question why FWP was involved. Some answers to this question were provided by Ken McDonald, Chief of the Game Division for FWP, i...

  • De-list The Grizzly In Montana

    Ron Stoneberg, My Opinion|Apr 30, 2014

    The issue of de-listing grizzly bears in Montana has periodically been in the news over the last couple of decades. Every time the population goals were reached non-government organizations (NGOs) sued and the bar was raised. Apparently, de-listing may finally be getting close to becoming a reality. If you are like me, you have been following this convoluted circus with a detached relief that it doesn’t concern us in Eastern Montana. Wrong! Allen Schallenberger’s article in the March 20, 2014 issue of Western Ag Reporter was a wake-up cal...

  • Judge Misjudged on Bison

    Ron Stoneberg, My Opinion|Apr 23, 2014

    I was disappointed to hear that Judge McKeon had denied the plaintiff’s contention that quarantined Yellowstone Park bison transferred to the Indian Reservations should not be classified as “wild.” I obtained a copy of his decision in an attempt to understand his line of thinking. Unfortunately, it appeared to me that his 26 pages of legal maneuvering primarily dealt with rationalizing and justifying his predetermined decisions. While most of his opinions may have been on solid legal footing, others were a stretch of credibility. For examp... Full story