Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Tag Archives: Wildlife

A Pine, Idaho Homeowner Explains Why “The Project” is Bad for the County

Elk and mule deer migration patterns be disrupted.

  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built in important sage grouse habitat.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would affect our fishery and water quality.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would create unacceptable noise pollution on Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

On May 16, 2019, Judge Nancy Baskin will have the opportunity to hear oral arguments that support the fact that the actions of Elmore County in regards to the Cat Creek Energy project approval were invalid. As a result we expect the judge will remand the project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission as early as July of this year.

Below you can read for yourself another of the many reasons we believe Judge Baskin will rule that the CUP approval process and the subsequent 2019 Development Agreement between Cat Creek and Elmore County were legally and procedural flawed.

 

Reference: Page 14 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Another opponent of the Project, Wendi Combs, a resident of Pine, Idaho, testified that the Project does not belong on Anderson Ranch Reservoir. She stated that “according to Fish and Game, the proposed site does lie within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.

The area is an important sage grouse habitat. Sage grouse do not like tall structures, such as wind turbines, power lines, and towers. Displacement, avoidance and reduced nesting success are well documented.

Fish and Game are concerned about water quality impacts, entrainment of fish, particularly the bull trout, and endangered species. “We’re not talking about one, but six silos pumping water up and down the reservoir 24/7, 365 days a year,” their words in quotes.

Then there is the noise pollution that will affect all the surrounding neighbors and campsites rendering them practically useless for solace and enjoyment.

We invite you to read the full 64 pages of the Judicial Review document that S Bar Ranch filed with Fourth Judicial District of Idaho to right this Cat Creek Energy wrong.

Download the document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

Thanks.

 

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More Are Concerned About Our Big Game Migration Corridors

Now is the time to have dialogue as a community and share knowledge about how we can create sustainable methods for protecting wildlife, while still respecting the need for ranches and farms. It’s about coexisting,” said Hunt To Eat Owner, Mahting Putelis.

We know many local hunters, outdoorsmen and wildlife enthusiasts are dead set against the Cat Creek Energy project that is planned for the backcountry of Elmore County. We all realize that this mega-energy project will have adverse affects on our deer, elk, pronghorn, raptor and game bird populations, as wells as our local fishery and water quality. Our local group of concerned citizens have friends in neighboring states also.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) is teaming up with “Hunt to Eat” to raise awareness and to educate people about wildlife migrations issues in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The Wildlife Federation and Hunt to Eat have organized a series of kickoff “migration” celebrations with the second event party set for Boise on May 1, 2019. This may be a good event to connect with others in the area to talk about protecting our deer, elk and pronghorn migration corridors in Elmore County.

Connect With Others

Connect with the Idaho Wildlife Federation on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IDWildlife/ or through their website at https://www.idahowildlife.org/

Connect with Hunt to Eat on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hnt2eat/ or on their website at https://hunttoeat.com/blogs/conservation/celebrating-wildlife-migrations?fbclid=IwAR1YDJf0Zs-ulhzr6zAQ8jBShpaQTWYsBHmNeWDVltAw-yS2qGGYrIW6JZI

Mark your calendar for this May 1, 2019 event in Boise and watch the above online links for more details about the celebration as it unfolds.

 

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Why “Harry” Believes Judge Baskin Will Remand the Cat Creek Energy Project Back to P & Z

Taken on Peak 5915 looking over the Castle Rocks and Wood Creek area of Elmore County, Idaho

 

Many Elmore County residents believe a District Court judge should remand the entire Cat Creek Energy project approval back to the County Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) for new and honest hearings. Our entire “Petition for Judicial Review” document is filled with legal, moral and ethical reason why we believe the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) erred in approving this ill-conceived project. A project covering 3,730 acres in the Elmore County, Idaho backcountry.

Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife and Scenic Beauty is at Stake

We realize how time-consuming attending the P & Z Commission meetings, hearing and deliberations in 2016 became. No one really believed Elmore County would every approve the Cat Creek Energy project. And those people were right. The P & Z Commission denied the permits Cat Creek Energy needed to begin the process of getting state and federal approval for their mega-energy project.

But then in 2017, the Elmore County Commissioners overruled their own P & Z Commission and handed that Gooding-based corporation the keys to our very own backcountry, the Anderson Ranch Reservoir and South Fork of the Boise River fishery, and will threaten our elk, deer and pronghorn populations.

Local Mountain Home, Idaho, resident Harry Taggart, “aka Skip,” testified in front of our county officials and offered the following facts …

Reference: Pages 10 and 11 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Harry Taggart, a resident of Mountain Home spoke and informed the Commissioners that he hunts and fishes throughout the South Fork of the Boise River basin, that he opposes the Project “because it would destroy the scenic beauty and environmental diversity of the area known as Wood Creek, which is right at the very doorstep of our splendid Boise and Sawtooth National Forests.”

Mr. Taggart also informed the Commissioners that he has “read and understood the Elmore County Comprehensive Plan, as well as Title 6, Chapter 14 of the Elmore County zoning and development ordinance defining areas of critical concern, which the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission is lawfully charged with protecting” and that he had read the minutes of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to deliberate Cat Creek Energy’s applications and he “agree[s] with the Commissions unanimous rejection of multiple Cat Creek Energy permit applications because they fall short of compliance with a minimum of 12 different Comprehensive Plan standards.

Harry Was Right Back Then and is Still Right

  • Destroying the scenic beauty of our backcounty with 500-foot tall wind turbines will not benefit the residents of Elmore County.

  • In approving the Cat Creek Energy Project, Commissioners Wes Wootan, Bud Corbus, and Al Hofer made a ruling in direct conflict with the county’s own Comprehensive Plan.

You can download and review the entire Petition for Judicial Review at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

 

Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

In addition, many of our elected officials from city mayor and on up the line to U.S. Senators could use some feedback from you. If you need their names or point of contact, we’ve created a list at https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

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National Forest Service Concerns Regarding the Cat Creek Energy Project

This “Bull Trout Country” sign is located just 5 miles west of the proposed Cat Creek Energy project lands.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and The National Forest Service commented about the concerns they have about the Generation Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, P-14655 portion of the Cat Creek Energy project back in October 2015. Those concerns have yet to be addressed as of late-March 2019.

A letter dated October 25, 2015, from Kimberly D. Bose from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) highlights their concerns that Cat Creek Energy needs to act in a timely manner and in good faith before they will issue a temporary permit to begin some very critical studies within the Elmore County backcountry. Their main area of concern is the South Fork of the Boise River basin and the Little Camas Prairie located about 18 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Reference: Page 4 and 5 of “FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage“ document. Please feel free to download the 25 Oct 2015 letter by clicking HERE FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage … or https://catcreek-energy.com/download/964/

 

Here is Just a Part of the National Forest Service / FERC Concerns

Fisheries Resources

The Anderson Ranch Reservoir fisheries resource consists of rainbow trout, bull trout, whitefish, chinook salmon, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass. South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is a Blue Ribbon fishery consisting of rainbow trout, bull trout, mountain whitefish, and sculpin.

  • Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species (TES) and critical habitat
    Endangered Species Act

  • Bull trout are listed as a threatened species (63 FR 31647 31674) under the
    Endangered Species Act.

  • Anderson Ranch Reservoir up to full pool is designated critical habitat (75 FR
    63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.

  • South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is designated critical habitat (75 FR 63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.


Concerns

  • Entrainment – bull trout and other species could be entrained when pumping
    water up to the holding basin.

  • Temperature – Increase in water temperature to Anderson Ranch Reservoir or the South Fork Boise River depending on the alternative considered and where water is released. The newly constructed dam would be a shallow reservoir and water temperatures would increase rapidly through solar radiation during hot summer months. An increase in water temperature could impact bull trout and could have effects on other fish resources within the reservoir.

  • Sediment – Increase in sediment from construction, maintenance and operation of hydroelectric facilities and associated power lines.

  • Supersaturation –  Supersaturation occurs when air becomes trapped in water
    spilled over a dam as it hits the pool below. If too much nitrogen is absorbed in the bloodstream of fish, air bubbles form and create the equivalent of what dives call “the bends” and fish die.

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/
or
See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

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Are Hunters Opposed to the Cat Creek Energy Project?

The Cat Creek area provides habitat for an assortment of native wildlife. The project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis. Data from elk and mule deer radio-marked during winter in 2015 and 2016 confirmed, considerable seasonal movements through the project area. Energy development has the potential to disrupt these movements.~ The Feb. 1, 2016, Idaho Fish & Game response to the Cat Creek Energy project

Considering the Cat Creek Energy project will consist of wind, solar and hydroelectric “Energy Development,” and that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IF&G) said the project could disrupt elk and deer migration, hunters and all who enjoy the Elmore County backcountry should be opposed to it.

 

Elk and Deer Herds are Back

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game just releases their 2018 big game harvest report. Things have recently been looking good for elk and deer hunters with harvest numbers remaining above or near 2017 numbers.

Hunters took more mule deer and fewer white-tailed deer in 2018 compared to 2017, while the elk harvest was similar between the two years — dropping by less than 2 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The 2018 elk harvest was about 15.4 percent above the 10-year average. White-tailed deer harvest dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, but gains in the mule deer harvest – largely from spike and two-point bucks – brought the overall deer harvest for 2018 above that of 2017.

 

Migration Corridor

The planned Cat Creek Energy project would consist of a 590 acre solar plant and a 1,140 acre wind farm in the Cat Creek Summit area, plus a 2,000 acre reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. IF&G said “the project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis.”

Will the migration patterns be disrupted?

 

So, Yes … hunters and backcountry enthusiast should research how this mega-energy project will adversely affect hunting and wildlife in GMU’s 43, 44 and 45 over the lifetime of this ill-conceived project.

Many hunters and local residents have already voiced their concerns and publicly stated their opposition to the Cat Creek Energy project.

How do you stand on this issue?

 

References

 

Please help us get the word out about how bad this project will be for the residents of Elmore County. There are much better locations to site this project where it won’t ruin the viewshed and our hunting heritage.

Share this post with your friends, family, and co-workers.

 

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Comment on Cat Creek Energy’s Hydro Project by March 20, 2019

Take Action

Low water conditions on Anderson Ranch Reservoir on Aug. 17, 2018.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) is actively soliciting your comments regarding Cat Creek Energy’s “Pump Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility.” The S Bar Ranch, Chris Stephens and many locals who oppose the entire project hope you will provide feedback to our federal government, too.

The goal is to protect Anderson Ranch Reservoir for the people of Elmore County.

How to File a Comment with the FERC

Go To: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/27/2018-25813/cat-creek-energy-llc-notice-of-successive-preliminary-permit-application-accepted-for-filing-and

Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission’s eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp.

FYI: You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

Below, you will find some of the issues we believe the federal government should seriously consider before allowing Cat Creek Energy to build a hydroelectric generating facility on the shores of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

The more comments the feds receive, the harder they will look at this project.

What is Pump Storage Hydroelectric?

What is this “ Pump Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility” that Cat Creek Energy (CCE) is trying to build on Little Camas Prairie? In theory, it goes something like this …

  • CCE digs out the shell of a reservoir on the bluffs above Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE drills six 15 foot diameter tunnels from that new shell of a reservoir down to Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE siphons 100,000 acre/feet of water up those bluffs to fill that new reservoir.
  • Once that phase of the project is completed …
  • CCE will release a large amount of water from their reservoir back into Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • That water will be run through turbines located at or near the south shore of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE collects that hydroelectric power and sells it to consumers in Washington, Oregon and California via a maze of transmission lines they plan to construct.

The Problems Associated With the CCE Pump Storage HydroElectric

  1. Water Quality: All local reservoirs have had toxic blue-green algae health warnings issued on them during 2017 and 2018 except Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
    The proposed Cat Creek Reservoir will likely experience a blue-green algae bloom soon after it gets filled. And then, Cat Creek will dump that toxic soup into Anderson Reservoir.
    Many people fish, boat and swim in this water. We think it should be kept clean of any blue-green algae source.
  2. Endangered Species: The endangered Bull Trout thrives in Anderson Ranch Reservoir because of the near constant water temperatures at depth. Cat Creek Energy will dump 1000s of gallons of warm and stagnant water back into Anderson, raising the local water temperature. Studies have suggested the Bull Trout will be adversely affected by this warming.
  3. Water level issues in Anderson: The physical act of removing water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir will affect the lake levels. However, massive summertime evaporation and domestic/agricultural use of the water will surely lower the warm season levels of their reservoir. CCE will then need to siphon additional water out of Anderson during the summer to prevent their reservoir from running dry just when we need that water in Anderson the most. Studies show our kokanee salmon fishery in Anderson will be mightily threatened by the CCE hydroelectric facility.
  4. Electrical Transmission Lines: CCE plans to run many high-tension electrical transmission lines between their different projects. Those lines will likely run from the bluffs above Anderson Reservoir and along the Highway 20 corridor. Many studies show that those massive towers greatly affect tourism and the viewshed.

Please consider giving your feedback to our government about the ill-conceived Cat Creek Energy Project.

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Coming: Cat Creek Energy News in Abundance

Even the Idaho Department of Transportation knows there is a critical deer and elk migration corridor running right through the middle of the planned Cat Creek Energy project landscape.

Photo taken on Jan. 20, 2019 and geotagged at https://goo.gl/maps/FS2sEdcDudM2

In the past few months, a lot of news and information has surfaced about the ill-advised Cat Creek Energy project that is scheduled to be built just 20 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.

What Issues?

  • There are water issues to discuss.
  • There are wildlife issues to discuss.
  • There are political issues to discuss.
  • There are State of Idaho issues to discuss.
  • There are federal regulations and guidance to discuss.
  • There are Elmore County Commissioner issues to discuss.

In the coming days and weeks, these issues will be brought to light on this website and our S Bar Ranch Facebook Page.

Our hopes are that you will read what we have to say and then do your own research. We’re very confident you will find that the 5,750 acre Cat Creek Energy project will be a boondoggle for the residents of Elmore County and our emerging tourism industry.

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