Sandpoint Council Wants Caribou Protections
City leaders in Sandpoint have signed on to a resolution that supports recovery of mountain caribou. Only a handful of the creatures are thought to inhabit the Selkirk mountains on the US side of the border.
The Sandpoint City council has endorsed a resolution that “urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to support the recovery of the southern Selkirk herd and to work expeditiously to conduct further augmentations of the southern Selkirk herd with caribou from other herds.”
Noah Greenwald of the environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity, authored the resolution, and says it shows there are officials in Idaho who support the animals.
Greenwald: “You know the endangered species and the Endangered Species act have been under attack from Republicans in congress, from industry, from various fronts. We want people to know there is a lot of support for endangered species in the US, and cities like Sandpoint."
Sandpoint Mayor Carrie Logan says the city council endorsed the augmentation concept to help the herd, but did not address the critical habitat issue.
Logan: “The resolution did not speak to the area for recovery of these animals, because that has been in some quarters contentious, but we are totally in support of seeing that herd survive, and augmentation is necessary to do that.”
The city council's opinion on caribou differs from the Bonner County commissioners'. That governmental body weighed in to object to a previous plan by the Fish and Wildlife service to expand the critical habitat of the Caribou to some 360,000 acres, fearing the impact on outdoor recreation like snowmobiles. That habitat designation is still being ironed out, after being downgraded to 30 thousand acres.
Bonner county commissioner Carrie Kelly says he has not had a chance to see the Sandpoint city resolution, and offered no comment.
The resolution will be sent to the US Fish and Wildlife service.