Volume 6, Number 43 - January 18, 2007
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The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous United States was the warmest on record and nearly identical to the record set in 1998, according to scientists at the National Climatic Data Center. Seven months in 2006 were much warmer than average, including December, which ended as the fourth warmest December since records began in 1895.
Based on preliminary data, the 2006 annual average temperature was 55° degrees F, 2.2° degrees F (1.2° degrees C) above the 20th century mean and 0.07° degrees F (0.04° degrees C) warmer than 1998.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the selection of Abigail Kimbell as the 16th chief of the Forest Service. Kimbell succeeds Chief Dale Bosworth, who is retiring on Feb. 2 after 41 years with the Forest Service.
Kimbell currently serves as Regional Forester for the Northern Region in
Missoula, Mont,, which includes northern Idaho, and North Dakota. As
Forest Service Chief, Kimbell will oversee an organization of over 30,000 employees and a budget of just over $4 billion. Before becoming regional forester, Kimbell served in the Washington office as Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, with responsibility for assisting in the development of the Healthy Forest Restoration Initiative.
The federal government is due to file its opening brief in the U.S. Supreme Court appeal against Wyoming rancher Frank Robbins this week.
This case involves a damages action brought against officials of the Bureau of Land Management in their individual capacities based on alleged actions taken within the individuals’ official regulatory responsibilities in attempting to obtain a reciprocal right-of-way across private property intermingled with public lands.
The court will address whether government officials acting pursuant to their regulatory authority can be guilty under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and whether the Fifth Amendment protects against retaliation for exercising a “right to exclude” the government from one’s property outside the eminent domain process.
National Elk Refuge manager Barry Reiswig announced that the supplemental feeding program for wintering wildlife on the refuge began Saturday, Jan. 13. Biologists have been closely monitoring habitat conditions and elk distribution to determine the start date for the feeding program, which generally begins in late January.
Cold weather and storms focus much attention on the supplemental feeding of wintering wildlife. Managers estimate a minimum of 4,230 elk and 660 bison are now on the refuge.
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