PROPS & DISSES: Mack attack

By on March 13, 2013


Mack Attack (DISS)

Peter Moyer is fit to be (Woolly Bugger) tied. He’s been bending YNP Superintendent Dan Wenk’s ear about the all-out war being waged on Yellowstone lake trout. Moyer isn’t buying the smear campaign perpetrated by fishery experts and biologists in Yellowstone who contend the mackinaw is eating the native cutthroat – to the tune of 50 a year per bad fish – right out of the ecosystem. Moyer isn’t alone. Paul Bruun also believes lake trout are being vilified.

lake trout

The first verified mackinaw caught in Yellowstone Lake was reeled in on July 30, 1994. A second laker was landed a week later and by August 11, park police issued a press release declaring Armageddon, offering a $10,000 reward for the fool that introduced the exotic fish into what was previously considered the last stronghold of the beloved cutty.

That’s when things stop making sense. It’s been the park’s contention that some brainless angler practiced a bit of “bucket biology” sometime in the late-80s by dumping a few macks in the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America. Pump your brakes, Einstein. Moyer says it wasn’t a tourist that polluted the lake with a foreign species; it was the park itself … more than a century ago!

It’s been documented that a Lake Michigan-strain of lake trout were stocked in Lewis Lake in 1890. Moyer unearthed a book written by park historian Hiram Martin Chittenden who claimed 10,000 yearling lake trout were introduced into Yellowstone Lake sometime soon after 1890 and before 1895, when the book was published.

Is it plausible to believe that three or four lake trout illegally dumped into an 88,000-acre lake in 1989 (YNP’s estimate) have flourished at a rate fast enough that more than 300,000 were removed in 2012 alone, bringing the total to more than 1.1 million of the non-native fish eradicated since 1994? However, if Moyer is right, and macks and cutties have coexisted for 120 years – why weren’t they officially discovered until 1995?

Bottom line: YNP fish managers spent $2 million ridding themselves of lakers last year by poisoning, netting and tracking, and have another $2.3M budgeted for FY2013 when sequestration cuts supposedly threaten vital operations like visitor services. Cutthroat numbers are down because of the 1988 fires, severe periodic droughts, whirling disease, and a resurgence of hungry pelicans, claims Moyer. He might be right. It’s worth that $2,300,000 in the budget to find out.

Smith’s makes good (PROP)

Smith’s pissed me off last year. When I was compiling a harmless story on grocery shopping for this paper, Smith’s Food & Drug gave me a hard time. Whole Grocer was amenable, even corporate Albies cooperated. When I tried to speak with the local store manager at Smith’s, he referred me to corporate, in Salt Lake, where I was given the “stall” then the “runaround” and finally the “freeze-out.” WTF?

But this isn’t about a frustrated journalist. And just to show I don’t hold a grudge: good on ya, Smith’s. Their recently released 2012 community report showed $10 million worth of cash and donations made to more than 2,200 nonprofits in seven Western states where the grocer operates.

Locally, Smith’s dished out $137,000 to schools and nonprofits in the state of Wyoming. Like most food store chains, Smith’s has in place channels to get less-than-fresh produce into the hands of the needy and that’s commendable. Their “Neighbor to Neighbor” charitable program provided an average donation of nearly $75,000 per store location in 2012.

SPET banking (DISS)

Times are tough. Wedco just shut its doors.

Meanwhile, the county has been sitting on a million bucks for a year that is earmarked for a daycare and don’t seem to be in any great hurry to spend it. The town is doing even better.

According to the Town of Jackson’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended 2012, $3 million is still sitting around from 2006 SPET appropriations.

And the best part is, TOJ got another million to build sidewalks in 2008 even after they had barely touched the 2006 sidewalk money. The 2008 SPET Fund ending balance on June 30, 2012 was $5,284,950.

In 2010, the town asked voters for another $1 million for sidewalk projects. Guess what? They got that too. The town of Jackson makes more on SPET interest in a year than I make slaving away at this rag – $41,758 (2006 SPET) and $44,310 (2008 SPET). This could be a “Prop” for government frugalness. But I’m jealous. Jealous that the town and county are able to squeeze pennies out of its citizens for sidewalks that seem never to get built while the water and sewer system corrodes away under our feet.

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