30 January 2017

Placename Legacy of Some Central Niobrara Valley Land Features

An ever-running river of water flowing easterly across a plains country has been known and denoted by numerous generations of people. The rapidly running waters were known in many unknown ways of the land.

There is a lesser extent of history known through tribal legacy and then some more expansive written chronicles as a government arrived.

There were years unknown of oral history among the resident tribes so many decades ago. The people present then lived amidst a land they knew and that was a place of their life and where essentials meant a survival dependent upon local resources. These people did not write about their presence in something like a book of latter years. Words spoken within a haven such as a lodge or tepee on some night, were the means through which someone talked about a known places, and shared their words for another generation.

At a later time elsewhere, it was about 1830 when some French men associated with the American Fur Trader Company, went westward and established a post along the river they identified as the “L’Eau qui court.” They had a primitive post near the confluence of a tributary river with especially prominent falls. The waters flowed from a southerly land of vast dunes. The fur company men traded with local tribes that gathered beaver furs.

Indians walked and rode on treasured ponies across this land. They knew realities based upon experience, or some shared depiction spoken in tribute within a gathering. These were essential aspects personally spoken amidst a group beneath a suitable shelter – it was an individual voice – in a setting where elders listened, talked and then made a decision.

This is history for Indians of the vast plains.

Further along in history, as the government of the U.S.A. was especially active with legislation identifying territories and putting together legal treaties, many changes occurred on the vast expanses of the central plains of the western frontier of an expanding nation. Military expeditions were a regular occurrence and for various purposes.

Following a governmental decision, in 1855, Lieutenant Gouverneur Kemble Warren - a topographic engineer of the U.S. Army - was the officer leading the “Sioux Expedition” traversing “Dacota Country” as they went from Fort Pierre on the Missouri river to Fort Kearny on the Platte river. A travel map prepared by the expedition indicated a few river names. There was the “Niobrarah or L’Eau qui Court or Rapid River,” with the name Niobrara used by the Ponca. “Mini Tanka” or Big Water was a denoted attribution of the Dacotas. Also there was the “Wamdushka W.” or Snake river where the French fur post was present. This river was also known by the Omaha tribe as “Cici ka wabahi i te. Where they gathered turkeys. Many turkeys were found here starved to death, and the men gathered them to pluck the feathers to feather their arrows,” (27th annual report of the American Bureau of Ethnology, page 94), There was also the “Little Rapid R.” as primarily indicated.

The “Running water is clear and very swift,” Warren wrote in his journal account. “All the ravines contain springs of clear water.” A prominent tributary along the southward route was the “Wah-zee-koust-kee-ya” according to the deciphered spelling from Warren’s journal entry. The words were said to mean “the place where the pine runs far out,” with “Wah-zee” probably properly spelled as Wasi. This waterway is now known as Long Pine Creek.

This military party eventually reached Fort Kearny on the Platte river and then went westerly and were subsequently involved in the infamous battle at Blue Water creek.

On September 22, 1857 a second U.S. expedition was along the “L’Eau qui Court” river, after weeks of traversing through the vast lands of the sand hills, initially starting from Omaha city and traversing along the north branch of the Loup Fork to its western extent, and then beyond. Loup is a tribal name for wolf, which would be the grey wolf of the plains. In the Lakota language, it is simply, sunkmanitu tanka according to modern era dictionary.

This expedition of discovery and reconnaissance started in July with the assignment to find the best route for a military road from Sioux City to the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains. Details also needed to be known regarding a suitable route to the Black Hills. The character of the Loup Fork and Niobrara were to also be determined for government purposes. There was $25,000 allocated by the U.S. government to pay expedition expenses.
Large-scale map showing route of Warren Expedition of 1857

After weeks of travel, men driving hearty livestock pulling wagons of this Warren expedition departed from the sand hills – along an Indian and buffalo trail from the “buttes de sable” - near a creek identified as “Wasi W.” or wakpa, translating to Pine Creek. The Lakota spell pinae as “wazi.”

Upon reaching the L’Eau qui Court in latter August, the expedition split into two separate parties. One group, including Lieut. Warren went westward to Laramie. Others, including messrs. Ferdinand V. Hayden (geologist) and J. Hudson Snowden went eastward. Details in a hand-written journals kept by these military men depict regular activities and occurrences amidst a western frontier. Especially notable were the nearly daily entries kept by Snowden.

Upon moving downriver, the expedition camped “in good grass … opposite the point opposite the place where we first struck the “l’eau qui court …” Cottonwoods trees provided wood fuel. Snowden also wrote about the valley geology, and recorded meteorological specifics, including even the types of clouds.

“Four Brules who came into our camp from below & who are on their way up the river say there are a great many buffalo travelling north toward L’eau qui court R.,” Snowden wrote. There was no wood along this “portion” of the river, he noted.

Indian presence was pervasive in the vicinity.

As the Niobrara contingent moved along the north side of running water, they crossed an Indian lodge trail on September 23rd. Tribal members present wanted the government force to cross to the south side of the river for some reason, Snowden indicated. Perhaps the Indians wanted the military force to go elsewhere, and away from places important to the tribe?

During these days, however, on occasion, provisions were given to the tribal visitors to the military camps, Snowden said.

One of the first tributary waterways draining into the running water was Deer Creek, flowing in from the hills to the south.

The expeditionary party then camped on September 23rd and 24th at a different waterway flowing in from the northwest, and which a route map indicated was designated as Omaha creek. This waterway is now known as Rush Creek on modern era map at its place northward north of Deer Creek.

Antelope Creek was then another known place. Its original attribution was apparently in reference to the obvious herds comprised of many of these animals. Mr. Snowden wrote many words associated with this day’s journey. His report conveyed that some members of the expedition had travelled to the Snake River, and met with traders of the American Fur Company.

On the 24th, tribal leader Standing Elk accompanied the government expedition for a time during the morning. His words were that “country through which we were travelling belongs to the ‘Great Father’ but that the game, grass, wood, etc. all was the property of the Brule Indians,” Snowden wrote. An annotation for this entry was: “and if we had any powder and ‘bulls’ to spare he would be very thankful for it.” Perhaps the bulls notation referred to bullets.

On one day, the party remained in camp to allow one man to backtrack to search for a mule which was located at a native camp. The mule was retrieved, while the Indians kept a colt and a pistol.

Snowden and a Samuel Moffitt travelled eight miles along this waterway of antelopes, and discovered that open water gave out within a few miles, with water still present in “holes.” This valley with “good grass” was “filled with herds of antelope and the water holes covered with flocks of small teal ducks,” Snowden observed and then denoted in his travelogue.

Soon after leaving camp on the 27th, another stream entering flowing from the north was discovered. The men could see a “long distance” up the valley. No wood was seen but there was good grass. The waters’ depth was 18 inches.

“Large flocks of cranes passed over our camp this evening, travelling south,” Snowden wrote in his journal on the 27th.

This locality seems to be Hay Creek of modern denotion.

“The river as yesterday was inclosed between high steep banks, the ravines filled to some with pine not however in sufficient quality to be of any importance. Considerable growth of ash, cottonwood and grape vines plum & cherry bushes flourish on the bottom.” … “Two lodges of Brules” were camped eastward on the river, on the southern bank of the river, and they camp to the government camp, offering to sell fresh meat, as a buffalo had been killed. The autumn color of the foliage was notable by Snowden.

During this day, an expedition sortie returned after travelling from the mouth of the Snake river and riding along the south side of the L’eau qui Court, and had been “with some of the American Fur Co’s traders, and they travelled with carts – he says the road on that side of the river is very good and so appears so from this, and yet the main lodge trail is on this. It would be impossible to cross the river however with wagons.”

In the evening “large flocks of cranes passed over our camp … traveling south,” Snowden recorded. This is an indication of the autumn migration of prominent Sandhill Crane.

After a “very tortuous and fatiguing march” along the running water valley during another autumn day, the expedition continued to have frontier experiences. There was a greater extent of pine as they moved further along. Game was scarce for a time.

Sketch of expedition route showing primary land features

After a reconnoiter of discovery, two men returned with meat of a freshly-killed buffalo, having also found a “very good place” to camp three and a half miles down the rapid river, that became a camping place on September 30th. The creek was 18 inches to two feet deep, and about four feet wide, according to the Snowden journal. The Indian attribution was “Maca sca Wakpa,” with one English name of White Earth creek. A map of the era shows it as “Clay” creek.

Two weeks – from September 30th to October 13th - were spent at this camp at this tributary where it met with the larger running water. This waterway is currently known as Leander creek, apparently after a homesteader.

During one day’s outing, Snowden rode “down” to a small creek, known as “(Macu seu w)” which was about 6 ft. wide with clear running water 18 in to 2 ft. deep,” Snowden wrote. The “w” would have referred to wakpa, or river in tribal language. This may have been the creek where medicinal plants were collected along its banks.

On October 1st, Snowden noted: “Many signs of elk in the vicinity and several were seen.”

Another day - October 6th - Snowden and a few others road away from the Niobrara valley, southward across the hills of sand to somewhere northward of what would have been Medicine creek. The name is derived from Indian language that refers to the medicinal plants present along the creek banks. They then continued a distance further southward to experience a northerly perspective of the Snake river. There was a “small band of buffalo north of the river,” according to the written recollections of Snowden.

Further details of significant history happened on the 11th of this autumnal month. “About 2 p.m. twenty-two Brule Indians crossed the river and charged into the camp with their bows strung and arrows in their hands. They said, they left Snake River this morning, where their village and chief ‘White Black Bird’ who was on his death bed, and who was sent – his paper, given him by Gen. Harney, by one of those present, who a tribal leader of the party. They said one of their young men who was out hunting had seen us on our road and supposing we were French traders they were going to take all our property away from us. They were very indignant at our going through their country and wanted us to pay for the privileged of passing. They said we were eating all their plums and wild fruit, and burning their wood, that our horses were eating destroying all the grass along the river, that were killing and carrying away all the game that they met – the buffalo and antelope flying from our approach 100 miles before they reached us ...”

Once the contingent of men riding horses or sitting upon seats of freight wagons filled with provisions, firearms and ammunition, and other essentials continued to move easterly, another southward flowing creek was realized within miles. The military force stayed here for a few days (the 13th to 19th) at the confluence of flowing waters designated as Reunion creek, in recognition of the place where the two, once separate government parties, gathered together to continue their exploration of the territory.

View of Niobrara Valley on October 14th.

”About 10 o’clock this morning we were all surprised by hearing a shot & whoop,” Snowden wrote. “On the hills shortly after a few of the Black – hill party accompanied by an Indian rode into the camp. He said Mr. Warren & party were close behind and in a few minutes they came defiling down the hill. Their long string of pack mules and the motley groups of men presenting quite a fantastic appearance. After the shaking of hands & congratulations were over, the rest of the day was spent in relating the different incidents & adventures which had happened to each since out separation…” During the 16th to 18th were spent “reorganizing the party” which included dividing provisions and the discharge of hired men that wanted to return to Laramie. The 17th was a snowy day with four inches on the ground the next morning.

During these days, messrs. Snowden, Dr. Moffett, as well as others got upon their horses in the morning as they took advantage of the sunlight of a day to explore the country, including nearby valleys and hills.

This locality was obviously in the vicinity - based upon geography and topography - of a Bear creek, the name that recognizes the place where Sioux hunters had killed bears, and along a stream within a canyon northward of the running water river. These were probably plains grizzly bears that found the valley to be haven of some sort. Bear in the Lakota language is “mato” as a noun, or matohota in reference to the grizzly bear, with particular inflections according to the Lakota dictionary done by general editor “Joseph S. Karol.”

Further along the readily indicated route along the river, other tribal members were met by the government men. Snowden says so on the pages of his journal that is an essential historic account. Reading the words of a government man, there was a bilateral presence of Indians and intrusionary government men.

There was then a “medicine creek” which was a place apparently known by some local tribal members in recognition of the medicinal plants growing along its banks. The names was associated with the personal – and somewhat shared – oral history that important medicinal plants grew along its banks.

Essential to the details of this Warren Expedition of 1857, are the hand-drawn maps giving details of its route along the Niobrara River. The original renditions are kept in official U.S.A. archives since they were drawn by topographic engineers that were government employees. For nearly every portion of the Niobrara traversed, there is a cartographic graphic that indicates prominent land features and places where the expedition camped.

There was a snowfall of six inches on the 18th, and more storms would ensue.

From October 20-22nd, the expedition camped at the mouth of a Little Rapid river, with an arrival date of the 19th after a “long distance into the prairie passing over low rolling ground,” Snowden wrote. Ravines were filled with vibrant pine. The creek was “3 yards wide and two feet deep, crooked and confined within.” There has high steep hills with pine and cedar on the hills and a fringe of elm, cottonwood and cherry. The waters flowed southward into the L’eau qui Court. When they wagons left camp, they travelled northward for a few miles and then went east through rolling land to avoid any difficulties that would have been incurred to traverse each “canon” or draw with steep topography and perhaps a rivulet that drained into the Niobrarah.

On subsequent days, further details written on pages of the Snowden journal, noted that on the 22nd, a Mr. Engel made a survey of the Snake river. There were “grassy islands” and “with a very rapid current,” Snowden wrote in his cursive script on a blank page of a notebook. The stream was “30 yds side at its mouth with high steep bluffs on either side & is well timbered with pine.”

Eastward of this place, the topographic map indicated a trader’s road to Fort Pierre crossed the L’Eau qui Court.

The group subsequently camped for a couple of days on the north side of the river, across from the confluence of a notable waterway. This creek was “about twenty feet wide two & half feet deep. Rapid current & very crooked. a tree here & there along the banks,” according to details written by Snowden.

From near the mouth of Gordon Creek, the entire bunch of governmental men, stock and wagons went northward along a decided route.

They reached the waterway known as the “Mini-Chaduza” on October 23rd, a creek about twenty feet wide two & half feet deep, rapid current very swift,” Snowden wrote, with the “Mini-Chadusa” shown on his map of the area. During the previous day, Hayden and some other men had “got lost” and “got separated in the night and the men are still missing.” All eventually returned to the camp.

The governmental force passed “7 lodges of Yankton Sioux” during the day.

Mini-chaduza has an indicated English rendition of rapid creek or little rapid river.

The current, modern name of Minnechaduza Creek is an alteration with a different spelling and as no longer hyphenated.

On October 23-24, the expedition party camped along the Niobrara, a couple of miles below the confluence of the Mini-Chaduza. The ravines were filled with scrub oak, Snowden wrote. This locality would have been in the vicinity of would eventually become known as falls at Fort Niobrara; a second spring just to its east was also indicated.

The travel route then moved easterly along the 25th. The ravines near camp were “filled with scrub oak, ash, a few, elm plum and cherry bushes in the beds, while their sides are covered by pines.” There was also some black walnut.

There were two other prominent waterways recognized as the expedition continued to the east. Shown on a map showing the route were Long Pine Creek visited two years previously by Lieut. Warren and then the Keya Paha river which was crossed on the 28th.

Keya Paha was indicated on the map as Turtle Hill river. A Lakota language dictionary also refers to Keya as turtle, with Paha meaning butte.

Both of these names remain to be the modern attribution.

The entire expedition having dealt with “four storms of rain and sleet” between October 18th and 30th, Warren said. The expedition eventually made their way, easterly, to a military fort on the Missouri river.

Notable Niobrara Valley Springs

Two especially notable springs are associated with the Niobrara valley between Antelope creek and what became known as McCann Canyon.

“Eden Springs was the early military name for Boiling Springs about eight miles southwest of Cody, Nebraska. It is the fortune of the editor to have homesteaded in 1887 in the country crossed by this military march and to have ridden horseback over the entire region. He confesses to regret that the early appropriate name of Eden Springs did not stick to the remarkable body of clear water which bursts from the foot of the high sand bluff on the Niobrara where it is now Boiling Springs Ranch. After a hard trip over hot sand hills the beautiful wooded flat with its extraordinary springs throwing up columns of clear water is quite enough to earn the title Eden from the traveler,” (Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days 4(2): 20). The 1857 Warren expedition travelled a couple of miles northward of the river valley on October 19th, but it is very likely that explorers or hunters may have noted the springs as they were riding away from the wagon train.

During the land office mapping of T32N R32W, the springs are indicated as a lake with a “fountain spring.” Subdivisions within the township were delineated in October 1882 by C.W. Dakin.

As for the currently designated Buckhorn Spring a short distance from the south bank of the Niobrara, no information has been discovered to indicate any place name from early history. There was a spring branch shown on the general land office map of T33N R32W though the spring is actually in T32N R32W. Its derivation seems to be associated with the horns of a buck deer.

Niobrara Expedition of 1873

Another unique name for a water feature in the Niobrara valley was noted during the Niobrara Expedition of Professor O.C. Marsh, from Yale. It was called Fossil Spring by Professor Marsh and Doctor Maghee while bone hunting: "It springs out of solid rock in a high bluff North bank of river about 19 miles below mouth of Antelope Creek. Stream 4 ft. wide 6 in. deep clear cold. A beautiful bottom of about 600 acres high rich protected from wind by hills warm; elegant,” wrote Dr. Thomas A. Maghee. It was June 30th. There was plenty of Indian sign having seen an Indian wicky across the Niobrarah.

Based upon the extensive bottomland, this may have been in the valley where Highway 61 now crosses the river, as this is the larger such land feature in the area approximately close to the distance indicated.

After departing from a camp three miles east of the mouth of the Snake river, the next camp on July 4th was at the “rapid (or Minichaduza) creek,” Maghee wrote. “This is a magnifficent Camp and the Rapid Creek is a swift clear stream about ten ft. wide 1 ft. deep. Wooded at its mouth.”

General Land Office Surveys

A couple of other creeks between the Snake and Minichaduza, were designated by a land survey party.

“Gordon Creek was named by Mr. Harvey, a surveyor, for a Mr. Gordon who ran a mule train from Sioux City to the Black Hills. The name was selected when Gordon crossed the creek a few days after being warned by the soldiers not to because of an Indian uprising” (February 14, 1929; Valentine Democrat 45(1): 3). John Gordon had originally passed through the area in October 1874, upon returning from the Black Hills, and having discovered gold. An effort to return to the Dakota country in April-May 1875 was violently thwarted by the U.S. Army, at a point along the Niobrara, near the confluence with Antelope creek. Wagons were destroyed and gold seekers were stopped in a “great burning” to make sure that there would be no illegal excursion into Indian territory in Dakota.

Primary land surveys of this land was done in June and July, 1875. “Gordons Creek is a fine stream rapid, a clear, below the beaver dams which lie in secs. 25, 26, 35 and 36,” according to written notes by the surveyors.

There is still another prominent waterway along the Niobrara a bit of ways eastward. This flow of water from the sandy hills likely had a tribal name, but its English name was designated by land surveyor Robert Harvey, in April, 1875. Upon seeing this waterway, a name came to mind, that of a land office clerk named “Schlegel” so it was named Schlegel’s Creek. A prominent falls were indicated in the northern extent of section 2, within T33N R28W, about three miles south of the creek confluence with the Niobrara.

“The stream called Schlegel's Creek in this township is a fine stream of pure cold water and helps make this township suited to grazing,” according to the survey notes.

This is a later news report: “Seeing the beautiful stream winding through the valley, he thought of a friend by the name of Schlagel, a clerk in the land office at Washington who was a beautiful penman. The creek was named for this man and for his fine penmanship. Mr. Harvey writing a letter to Mr. Schlagel at Washington, D.C. on birch bark, this letter now being on file in the land office at Lincoln,” according to an article in the Valentine Democrat newspaper.

Historic Postoffices

The Little Rapid River of the 1857 expedition flowed through what is now known as McCann Canyon. The attribution is based upon residency of Dwight J. McCann that supplied commodities to plains’ tribes in the late 1870s. There was legal action taken due to his business practices, as he was colloquially known as “Sugar McCann.” The McCann post-office was opened in 1880, within Cherry county.

This is no specific modern-era attribution for the creek within the canyon.

Placename Legacy

Each of the placename specifics indicated are minutiae derived from numerous documents of past times. Every delineation as written and denoted is the original name. There are others that have decided that some place names should conform to their perspective. Based upon known history, the homesteaders and settlers were indicative and had official government records as proof of their presence, and this often meant an adaptation in a place name.

Names are an important and prominent legacy, so it is essential that original names be known and understood to contribute to a better realization of the heritage of many people. Any first names - especially those of tribal attribution - as given within journals and upon maps need to be given proper recognition on modern-era maps.

Polar Bear Festival Celebrates Winter on the Niobrara River

Frigid waters of the Niobrara river by the Meadville bridge were a place where many people shivered after taking a “polar plunge” to celebrate a community tradition at the annual Niobrara River Polar Bear Festival.

More than 125 people gathered at Meadville Park for what long-time attendees noted was the 20th anniversary of winter fun along the Niobrara river during the weekend of January 28th. Many of those present were from the local community of Brown and Keya Paha counties, as well as seen license plates also from Cherry county, the Norfolk area and elsewhere in eastern Nebraska. There were also visitors from South Dakota.

Hosts were Aaron and Becka Miller, current proprietors of the Meadville store, and Mike Petersen, owner of Meadville Park, who graciously did not require payment of an entry fee for the bunch of people on his property on Saturday.

The ice at the immersion spot this year was more than 15 inches, and while using a chain saw to remove the frozen ice, the blade of the machine was nearly not long enough, said Petersen.

A majority of the crowd watched while approximately 35 people took a plunge into the running waters of the Niobrara river. Some of the celebrants have made this frigid dip their annual tradition.

The “dippers” strode down a sandy, prepared path, stopped on a mat on the ice as a safety rope was placed and then mentally prepared themselves for complete immersion in the running waters. The eventual few steps were done in a grand manner of individualistic expression including some grand, personal actions at this winter place. One person would daintily step into the water, while others would simply jump. There were some costumes of colorful distinction. Others wore skimpy basics of a swim suit more suited to somewhere on a southern, summer beach. Every participant was individually and safely considered as attended to by two men next to the square of open water at the right spot. The local EMT group, out of Springview, was also present for safety reasons.

Anyone wanting to compete for polar king or queen had to make certain that they were completely wet, and someone or another had to dunk themselves again to make certain their head was wet.

A canine caper occurred when a big black Labrador jumped into the water, dog-paddled for a few moments and then climbed out, with an appreciatory applause from the crowd for a dog that realized the routine.

The king and queen of the festival this year were Steve and Laurie Hergott.

This event was apparently started initially when some guys at the Meadville Store, decided on a warm January day, that they would jump into the river waters, Petersen said.

Icy conditions were pervasive along the river, as there was only a small extent of not frozen water along the southern bank of the river.

The Saturday event was "an opportunity to get the community together and have some fun,” Petersen said. He also noted how the Niobrara river is an asset and indicated how he is considering how to provide float opportunities from the park and eastward along the eastern extent of the Niobrara National Scenic River.

During the festival there were other events of a warmer sort at the nearby and busy Meadville store on Friday and Saturday, where the Miller’s have been proprietors since November 1, 2016. The "plungers" gathered at the store to get warm and appreciate the gathering at a story with a legacy dating to 1886, with obvious changes during subsequent decades.

This is a winter event that celebrates the Niobrara River, and which is a distinct occurrence indicating how this scenic river can be appreciated throughout the year.

Elsewhere in the vicinity – while enjoying another wintertime activity of bird-watching - much of the river above the nearby Plum creek confluence was completely ice covered. While driving along the River road, there was a comment made that it would be a fine time to don a pair of cross-country skis and traverse ice over the river waters on a night when there is a full moon. Animals already appreciate the situation as they can go from one bank to another, without getting their feet wet. All roads in the area were easily travelled, despite the foot of recent snow.

Bird highlights were a Merlin flitting from one fencepost to another along Meadville avenue, three Bald Eagle soaring along the river near Meadville Park, a sublime Townsend’s Solitaire, and a wonderful view of a Great Grey Shrike in search of prey just south of the Meadville store. There were also other ornithological highlights. The expansive snow-cover has resulted in large numbers of Horned Lark along highway 12 shoulders where was open ground to forage. At least a few Eastern Bluebird were seen along the River road, west of Meadville.

It is obvious, that after multiple forays into the Niobrara river environs, that any day is a good day to appreciate this valley of unique habitats, and its people.

16 January 2017

Demise of a Sharp-shinned Hawk at Valentine

While striding along a regular walking route in north Valentine, and being focused on looking hither and yon to realize any sorts of birds, a bit of an obvious detail became prominent on the ground. With a single glance, followed by a closer look, a short pause was needed to determine what was lying in a front yard a short distance from the public sidewalk. It was a bent, feathered carcass beneath a conifer.

No delay was made in encroaching to retrieve the remains for further consideration. My trespass involved just a stride or two, but was quickly done in order to retrieve public property, that being the bird carcass, for further consideration. The morbid animal was placed in my carry bag.

A brief time later, this gathered item, as well as a spotting scope, needed to be rearranged so purchased edibles could fit rightly during a visit to a local grocer. It would have been a “hoot” to pull out a dead bird and set it upon the counter at the grocery checkout, a short time - and many steps - later. There were no such antics ... thoughts do not necessarily convey any sort of action.

After further walking northward and a return to my simple residence, time was taken to determine that the carcass was that of a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It was a rare opportunity to hold and consider conditions associated with this magnificent, dead raptor. This happenstance resulted in a personal session of renewal of basic avian plumage and an opportunity to intimately appreciate what had been a dramatic wildbird.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk had been reported to be obvious at bird feeders just a couple of city blocks northward, just days earlier during an inquiry to a north Valentine resident. There was a spot at the southwest corner of Eighth and Main Street where bird droppings were prominent beneath the branch of a conifer, and a place where this accipiter had been seen a time or two this season. Perhaps this had been its nightly roost?

While doing a tepid external autopsy of the bird, and using my ornithology text book from college in the early 1970s it seemed obvious that this raptor had recently eaten some prey. There was obvious reddish-colored remains on the breast of the bird, beneath its hawk and mandibular ramus. Also noted was a difference in the wing bones. Its demise seems to be because of a broken wing. While handling the carcass, carefully in comparison, it became obvious that its left wing had an apparent break whereas there was no similar condition associated with the right wing.

Bird featheration is so magnificent in its variety and wonder of colorful patterns. Having dealt with a couple thousand carcasses of wildbirds, it was a grand Sunday to be able to hold and consider the carcass of this once vivacious hawk.

Possession of this carcass was in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which does not allow anyone to “take” or possess any wild bird. Having dealt with the FWS in regards to carcass possession, there was no delay or second thought given to grabbing the carcass. If some bureaucrat of a federal agency wants to make a case, they will have to buy lunch, and be locally present to get any indicative words? Responsibility for being a miscreant is accepted.

Closeup details illustrating individual bards and vales of the feathers seem surreal, seemingly indicating something hard and rigid, which they are. Yet when seen from some distance feathers seem to be something seemingly soft on birds as they fly along.

It was quite nice to be able to find this carcass, rather than its death being unknown. The opportunity meant a return to the ornithology textbook used in college decades ago, where there are pages with indications and notations made during years when wildbirds were an abstract concept pending further understanding. So much more learning was so obviously necessary. Experiences had to occur.

Birds die all the time. In this situation, the demise of a single hawk happened in a manner where its death became realized and personally appreciated.

The remains of this hawk will be given individual respect as it is returned to a wild place where its remains will be returned to the land where it lived. At least it did not end up in a trash can!

The feather color and their condition was somewhat superb. Looking at the ornithology textbook, so many types of feathers on this singular carcass were vividly obvious and enjoyed in a unique manner on a winter day. It was a chance to return to learning. This is a series of photographs taken to illustrate the personal qualities of this dead raptor.








Such magnificent feathers.

12 January 2017

Holt County Couple Speak on Turbine Facility

Author note: The names of the couple that spoke at the public meeting of the zoning board meeting are not given in this article to facilitate its publication. Primary in the decision to spread this story regarded the situation as expressed by the speakers at a public zoning board meeting at Valentine in early January that should be conveyed to so many others. Also, spoken comments were made at a public meeting, and are therefore public information as personally noted. Minutes of this meeting made by the secretary of the board, will, according to details heard at the most recent January meeting of the Cherry County Commissioners - be made available online. Comments made at a public venue are public information. As the author of this story, it has been a difficult conundrum. The overall decision was to share the information so that many more could realize what may occur when wind turbines are placed on a local landscape.

Grand Prairie Wind Turbine Facility

A couple dealing with a massive wind turbine facility in Holt county have experienced the process and results associated with the planning and subsequent operation of an industrial wind turbine facility in northern Nebraska.

Speaking to the Cherry County Planning and Zoning Board on January 3rd, they indicated how turbines at the Grande Prairie Wind Farm located northeast of O’Neill has “ruined” values which they once readily appreciated at their rural residence. The couple travelled to Valentine to share their experiences with zoning board members now considering changes to Cherry county zoning regulations pertaining to wind energy conversion systems.

The couple reside on property within one and 1/3 mile of the nearest turbine of the Grande Prairie facility that has 200 model 110 Vista turbines. About 60 of them are visible from the a corner of the property where the couple has lived for 20 years.

The extent and ongoing occurrence of noises from operational turbines was especially prominent in their comments. Noisy conditions occur regularly since the turbines became operational at the end of October, 2016.

Turbine noise is heard “every day,” said the mister.

"The noise is not constant as we always hear it but when we hear it it is a steady constant noise not rising or falling like the wind, therefore it is a very unnatural sound," the missus said. “On any given day there is a different sound.” On occasion the sound is similar to a shoe thumping in a dryer. They have found that the noise is worse when the turbine blades are rotating away from their home, and the back side of the turbine nacelle is closer. The sounds carry across the level landscape until it meets an obstruction, which in this case, is their home.

To document the extent of the noise, they rely on decibel meter to determine readings at various times. On occasion, levels were measured at 52-68 dBA within their house, and 68 to 82 dBA outside. Early in January, 2017, there was a reading of 50 dBA within their home. Noise from the operating turbines can readily exceed typical residential sounds such as a furnace running or television volume.

County regulations indicate that noise levels should not exceed 50 dBA.

“I miss the peace of the night,” the missus said. She used to be able to enjoy hearing the calls of resident owls, coyotes howling and otherwise appreciate their rural setting. Prominent sounds now can regularly be those of operating wind turbines. It is “very disturbing, and not natural,” she said. When the weather and wind direction changes, the extent of noise also varies.

“A neighbor three miles distance from the turbines can hear them,” the mister said.

Blinking red lights atop the many turbines are also notably obvious in the night skyscape, which was formerly nothing but stars.

The couple had initially been told by project developers that no turbine would be placed within five miles of their home. A map they provided at the Cherry county board meeting showed that the extent of turbine placement was much greater than originally proposed.

“Zoning regulations were not as strong as they should have been,” the mister said, noting that some members of the zoning board currently have an opinion that the project “should not have happened.” There was only one initial public meeting, they said.

Three primary concerns for the Holt county zoning board have been: 1) decibels of noise from the turbines at the site and nearby; 2) influence on land values; and, 3) the designated setback distance. There were also other items that the zoning board dealt with.

The gentleman from Holt county said the project has been “very disturbing to people that live near the site. It has split families and neighbors. It is a mess.”

There was some economic benefit to the community during the construction phase, he said. Any other economic benefits to the county are not yet apparent.

A prominent comment they made was that 80% of the owners of property where the turbines are placed do not live at the site, but instead reside in O’Neill or elsewhere. These owners receive thousands per month in payment for having a turbine on the property.

The Grande Prairie project was started in 2008. The county zoning board initially heard about the proposal in 2014, it was said. This project has been sold twice, and is currently owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

They mentioned Berkshire Hathaway Energy constructs wind turbine facilities due to tax breaks.

Warren Buffett has invested in wind energy for years, notably because of the federal government tax subsidies to generate wind power, according to press reports. "That’s the only reason to build them,” Buffett said. "They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

There is a proposal for an additional 25 turbines to be placed amidst the facility which comprises 54,000 acres. Some members of the planning board are hoping for a delay on any further placement of any more of the massive turbines.

The couple indicated they would welcome anyone wanting to visit and personally experience conditions associated with living near the operational turbines at one of the largest wind turbine facilities in Nebraska.

Cherry County Zoning

People present at this meeting included 8 of the 9 members of the zoning board, the zoning administrator and 12 guests with most of them indicating their name on a sign-in page. The wife of a newly elected county commissioner, once again, declined an opportunity to put her name on an attendee list.

No decisions were made to revise any zoning regulations during this meeting. Particular attention was given to the three items that the county commissioners indicated that the planning board members needed to consider. Several sources of information were discussed and then documentation was provided for individual members to consider for discussion at the February meeting of the Cherry county zoning board.

Wind Energy – A Runaway Failure for Nearly Four Decades

Article courtesy of Jim Weigand. Thank you, sir, for your contribution and ongoing efforts which have been so important. Mr. Weigand is a Great American.

If you are one of the millions across America, that believes wind energy will create a better world, you need to read the facts presented here. This information has been hidden by the media, utility companies, your government and by most of all, a terribly destructive industry seeking profits.

California’s wind turbines may have started a green revolution here in America. But as readers will learn here, wind energy’s perceived value to society is a devious fantasy. Adding to the public’s confusion is that this puffed-up industry has been enabled with layers of rigging from politicians, planted media stories, fraudulent research, data manipulation and outright lies. All for the purpose of giving corporations access to taxpayer billions. As you will learn here it certainly has not been for the energy provided.

I would imagine that the United States has now invested well over $2,000,000,000 in these turbines and infrastructure. But the story and success of wind energy is the basically same power of suggestion story as “The Emperor's New Clothes.” Ironically this well-known tale written in Denmark 200 years ago, is also the home of this fake green industry.

From the massive amounts of publicity over the years one would think that wind energy is carrying a rapidly increasing load of America’s electricity demands. Opinion polls overwhelmingly show that the public supports renewable energy and especially wind power. But these favorable polls are from the mistaken belief that wind energy is green, has few impacts and is carrying a rapidly increasing load of America’s electricity demands. But this is a false perception created by sellouts, ignorance and profit seekers searching for taxpayer gold.

From my years of wind energy related research, I have found that for this industry, telling the truth means absolutely nothing. For example, the first and only credible scientific mortality study ever conducted around wind turbines, was released in 1985. Since then all mortality research has been a rigging and cover-up game. Since the release of that first wind industry study, showing a bird mortality rate of 34 fatalities per MW, what obviously became most important to this industry, was public opinion.

It is not easy for the public to admit how easily they can be duped. But this industry knows it and they have been working everyone for decades with an onslaught of research rigging, false media stories, false advertising, subliminal messaging and energy production embellishments. If they say they’re great, then they must be great and this has conditioned the minds of the masses.

At one time the public was led to believe that wind turbines could make us independent of Middle East oil, then the primary story supporting wind energy development evolved into to fixing climate and saving mankind. Or maybe you have been led to believe that these turbines will power a new generation of electrified transportation.

While this form of transportation is coming, the vast majority of electrical energy consumed by electrified transportation will never come from wind turbines. The saddest part about this entire green fraud is that America’s utilities and energy providers each know that wind energy is no solution for any of this. They all know because they live with wind energy’s wimpy inefficient production numbers every day.

Everybody reading this also needs to understand what I know to be true about this industry. An industry that will cover-up their slaughter to tens of thousands of eagles, including our endangered species, will stop at nothing for profits. An industry after killing thousands of eagles over the last 35 years at Altamont, then colluding with the U.S. Geological Service (2015) on a study overestimating this same population by more than ten times, will also stop at nothing.

For the naysayers that do not believe in my expertise, I give you this ... our President Obama has rewarded this industry for their decades of mortality fraud on America. After claiming for years that very few eagles were being killed annually by wind turbines and that Altamont Pass in California was a regional aberration, our President recently signed a rule making it legal for this this industry to kill up to 6200 eagles annually in America. With this new rule, President Obama just confirmed that this massive hidden eagle slaughter from wind turbines, has always been with us. More proof is at the Eagle Repository in Denver where more than 33,000 eagle carcasses have been received since 1997 by this morgue.

This ongoing wind industry slaughter is also killing millions upon millions of other wildbirds annually while producing very little energy for society. Being a dedicated wildlife biologist, I am aware of the extinction of species coming from these prolific killers and this is exactly why I write about wind energy.

The National Audubon Society, Sierra Club and several other prominent conservation groups support wind energy. They have also been receiving buckets of wind energy funding thru various channels. If anyone reads their canned statements or looks over their websites, these groups claim this form of lethal energy will eventually save more species in the future from climate change ... so, any species slaughter currently taking place, is for a greater good because wind turbines are so wonderful.

Part Two

Figuring out the true value of wind energy is really quite easy if the real numbers were not deliberately being hidden. But having been hidden are details on the thousands of eagle carcasses being found under wind turbines. But unfortunately, facts like these are hidden because people and corporations with terrible character want your money.

For investors and energy providers, selling wind energy to the public is similar to a fast food restaurant selling orders of high profit French fries for $2 when the potato only cost them 10 cents. Then this wonderful restaurant in order to create more profits, creates fraudulent research that allows them to advertise to the world that their fries are a top-rated superfood. Wind energy is really no better than this.

But selling French fries as a superfood will not fly because the public knows better. This is not true with wind energy because they know very little about their utility companies or energy producers. So, when the wealthy “green” profiteers plant media stories and declare wind energy as a gateway to a rosy future, it sounds pretty good.

The truth is that wind turbines provide very little usable energy for society and the reported wind energy figures being published by this industry are not true. This entire scenario is basically what has been taking place for decades with fake industry mortality studies allowing millions of wildbirds and thousands of eagles being killed annually to be hidden.

How much electrical energy being sold on paper written into a wind energy contract has very little to do with how much of this original energy is actually being consumed by end users? The fact is that every wind farm consumes energy when that wind farm is not operational and annual reported wind energy reports do not have to account for this. Then besides the uncalculated energy consumed by wind projects, there are system losses created by constant load fluctuations associated the intermittent production from wind turbines. Additional losses occur when this energy must travel hundreds of miles through transmission lines, power stations and transformers. These losses are also not calculated, yet together these losses are substantial.

The wind turbine industry pretends that every possible kwh of wind energy is usable and no energy is lost on the way to the consumer. On paper this convenient loophole makes these projects appear more productive to the public. This fantasy is much like a farmer thinking every head of lettuce laying in his field will end up purchased in a consumer’s refrigerator with no outgoing costs for the labor or fuel involved in the production.

Then with all these contrived green energy numbers there are production tax credits and carbon credits given to this fraudulent industry. This embellishment robs taxpayers. For that lucky lettuce farmer, it is like getting paid two or three times for every head of his “special green” lettuce, even though many never reach the consumer. This is why companies like Google, Amazon are piling on to the wind energy bandwagon. Selling this energy fantasy to America has been highly profitable for some.

But getting the real energy production numbers for wind turbines and getting the truth from energy providers will not happen. Getting these numbers, will be even harder to get than the total numbers of eagle carcasses being shipped to the Denver repository from America’s wind farms each year. This is because these numbers are protected by Washington, thanks to Bill Clinton’s amending this country’s Freedom of Information Act in 1997.

California’s Historical and Future Wind Energy Failure

These turbines have been installed in California for decades. In Southern California the historical mountainous range of the Condor was destroyed by this industry and now this endangered species is captive to a small region with permanent feeding stations away from turbines. The golden eagle population has been decimated, but rigged U.S. Geological Service 2015 research is hiding this fact and exaggerating their populations by more than ten times.

Huge sprawling areas of California have been blighted or devoured by this industry and across this country millions of protected birds, with lives dependent on these open spaces are getting slaughtered annually. So, what has been the net benefit from all this destruction? Probably none except financially for a limited few.

After years of turbine construction on California’s remote ridgelines, wind turbines began producing a bit of wind energy for the grid in 1983. That year California produced about 53 Gigawatt Watt hours of wind energy. Over the years this production has grown to about 12,000 GWh in 2015. This is an annual production increase of around 11,950 GWH after a span of 33 years.

If you happen to be a wind industry supporter, a turbine peddler, the California Energy commission, the AWEA or even one of the industry’s many fake wildlife biologists, you would be boasting that wind energy is the fastest growing source of energy in the US, having increased by an amazing 240 times. While a tiny bit of this information is true it is also one of the biggest lies being fed to the public by all these entities.

Here is this big corporate/government lie exposed. During this 33-year period, while wind energy has possibly (using their numbers) increased by 240 times, wind energy has been a huge loser in a perpetual battle with California’s annual electricity consumption. In 1983, the wind industry produced just 53 GWh and CA’s total annual energy consumption was around 199,609 GWh. Back then there was an electricity energy gap of 199,556 GWh between wind energy production and California’s electricity consumption.

Now, 33 years later, the fantasy of wind energy fulfilling California’s electricity needs, has become even more impossible because this wind turbine gap (energy production vs. total consumption) has grown from 199,609 GWh to over 288,000 GWh per year. Adding the electricity load losses and transmission losses, this state is now using well over 300,000 GWh of electricity per year. For wind energy to have just kept pace with this state’s growing grid demands, since 1983, California would have had to install more than eight times (49,200 MW) more wind energy blight across their open spaces. But this installment figure is likely worse because one would have to accept this industry’s reported wind energy production figures.

A statement from the California Energy Commission (CEC) states: “Currently there is no public, western?wide system that identifies deliveries of contracted generation sources and short?term market purchases to specific locations in California. As a result, the California Energy Commission makes estimates and uses general assumptions to allocate the quantities of imported electricity to specific fuel types."

In other words, California’s energy imported figures are not accurate and the consumption of energy and transmission losses are most likely much higher. How much energy is purchased by consumers is far different than the amount of electrical energy needed to keep all the transmission lines charged. California is now importing more than 35% of their energy consumption and most this energy produced from gas, coal and nuclear electricity, is coming from 7 other states.

Here one more official CEC statement: “California is well on its way to meeting the 33 percent renewables by 2020 requirement.”

When the public is presented with statements like this from the California Energy Commission they need to remember, these are statements using incomplete, manipulated and bogus data. Rigging numbers and buying fake amounts of renewable energy from other states, satisfies nothing except for investors.

There should be no question in anyone’s mind that electrical consumption in California is much higher than the statewide figures. This is because there is also no accounting in the CEC energy figures for another very substantial energy consumption sector in California, the energy used by the U.S.A. Defense Department and these numbers within California are substantial.

As for the wind energy being produced in Oregon and Washington, their wind energy production isn’t even being produced for their Renewable Portfolio Standards. The reason is because these two states have been supplying over 60% of their electricity consumption with renewable hydroelectric power sources for decades. Sadly in these two states, all the wind turbine blight, the slaughter of species and ecosystem destruction taking place to their open spaces, is for California’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, so it can be put on their books.

I will point out that making power agreements with these two states does have other benefits, it helps to satisfy a fake demand and a false need for these non-producing turbines.

A lie told to Congress in 1998 was: “We can open up the wind resource in this country with the advanced wind turbines we're developing and basically supply all the electricity in the United States, if you tapped all the potential that was there".

Wake up folks, the only way this could ever be possible is if America’s population were reduced by more than 90% and with no future growth.

After four decades, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on wind energy development and destroying the Golden State environment, Californian’s have very little positive to show for this failed green energy source. In the next 2 decades, a new generation of electric cars, electrical gadgets and an electrified rail system, will add substantially to this state’s electrical load requirements. Soon the total electricity needed to satisfy CA’s growing consumption will exceed 400,000 GWH.

When this occurs, wind energy production in California will probably still under 25,000 GWH per year and California residents will still be saddled with an ever growing 375,000 GWh wind energy production gap. Anyone honest with an IQ over 80, can understand energy consumption is leaving every wind energy production number in the dust.

Audubon, the Sierra Club and every other sellout conservation group taking corrupt wind energy money, should have explain all this on their websites or at a congressional hearing. These groups should need to explain to their ignorant well-meaning members, exactly how supporting wind energy’s putrid numbers with their impossible climate fixing dream, are a good tradeoff for a growing slaughter to thousands of eagles and millions of wildbirds annually.

An Even Faster Growing Wind Energy Gap

The green energy fantasy of using wind turbines to power the future truly is a fantasy and this delusion becomes even more impossible when considering all of society’s other energy sectors.

When looking at published California Energy Commission (CEC) information, figures for California denote use of electricity, fuel coal and natural gas. It tells the public very little but with some added background information. It also happens to be one the most revealing statements you will ever find about the futility wind energy. This is because when looking at total energy, the energy used every day in our lives, wind energy only supplies a miniscule amount of these total energy numbers.

"California is the 10th largest consumer of energy in the world slightly ahead of Italy and slightly behind France. The transportation sector consumes 46 percent of California, the industrial sector consumes 31 percent, residential 13 percent, and commercial 10 percent."

Total energy usage from fuel, natural gas or electricity is typically quantified using the British thermal unit (Btu), or million Btu. In California, this per capita consumption is rated at about 217 million Btu per person for all energy sectors and transportation is by far, the largest form of energy of consumption. Several years ago, the U.S. per capita total energy consumption average was rated at 313 Million Btu.

When per capita million Btu numbers are converted to MWh, this works out to 63 MWh for every person in California. One must also one take into consideration that no form of electricity will propel a jet to Paris and space heating for buildings is far more inefficient and costly when using electricity.

With reported wind energy numbers being compared with total energy consumption in Million Btu for all sectors, wind turbines provided about 12,000 GWh of electricity or 1/207 of this state’s energy total consumption in 2015. But the real numbers are higher not only for of the reasons stated earlier but because there is another substantial energy sector not being accounted for in CA, the energy consumed by the Defense Department in California.

It is my opinion, with defense energy quantified, getting accurate net wind energy production numbers and all electrical energy losses accounted for before reaching end users, the real contribution from California’s wind turbines, is probably more like than 1/300 of the total energy consumed within this state.

Wind Energy and Climate

Unfortunately, the public perception is that that wind energy will one day supply our grid with clean energy and that it will help the world stabilize climate change or even fix it. It is all complete nonsense, and when presented with real numbers it is easy to see that wind energy is really a grossly obese loser. If wind energy production were a foot race on a track, this form of energy has been getting lapped over and over again by all the other primary energy sources making electricity for the grid.

Take a look the at the table below showing total United States electricity consumption numbers from 1990 and 2015. Reported Wind energy production even with the industry’s embellished production numbers, are getting creamed by increasing consumer demand and consumption. Consumption is growing at a rate at least 5.6 times faster and this growing disparity will never stop.

So I ask everyone waving the climate flag while peddling wind turbines, at what point in the future will wind turbines help stabilize or even fix climate? Of course I know it will never happen for many reasons, but let’s just pretend wind turbines can help. Let’s say this positive impact on climate will happen at a level where wind turbines provide 25% of this country’s electricity consumption.

In the 25-year span of 1990-2015 shown above, wind energy has reportedly grown from producing 2190 GWh to producing 190,719 GWh. At this rate of wind energy growth, even if there were no annual increase in this country’s consumer consumption from 4,077,601 GWh, it would take another 134 years to reach a grid production level of 25%.

If you think wind energy will help fix climate when reaching a 25% production level with all energy consumption sectors included, then still with no energy consumption growth, in about another 2000 years we can have a big party for this reaching this accomplishment.

When accounting for increases in energy consumption, even reaching a modest level of 25% wind energy production becomes impossible.

But I have more bad news; there isn’t enough good wind or enough room for all this industrial mess. Not only will wind energy never catch up, with these turbines and the endless transmission lines, it will devour our landscapes, until there is no more room.

A funny thing about all this is that wind projects are supposed to be valuable. These projects sell to insiders for about 2 million per MW of installed nameplate capacity. The industry has 75,000 MWs of these spinning losers, making the energy costs to society per GWh , astronomical when compared to the primary producers of energy for society.

In an amazing contrast of value, clean coal plants and natural gas plants that receive no tax credits or fake carbon credits have far less value for investors. These are the power plants that are producing the bulk of the energy for society. These are also the power plants that bring energy to wind projects and compensate wind energy production for all its intermittent load losses. Yet these far more valuable power plants are valued at a fraction of the cost per MW.

In September of 2016, four such power plants with a nameplate capacity of approximately 5,200 megawatts (MW) sold for $2.17 billion. About 1/8 the price per MW of wind energy. The reason for this artificially inflated value for wind energy, is due to a corrupt Congress rewarding this industry and this country’s rigged Renewable Portfolio Standards.

As readers grasp the information presented here, they should understand they are being royally fleeced and your precious tax dollars are being wasted on wind turbines that have no “greater good for society. As for any of the climate change arguments supporting the wind turbine installations, the facts here prove that wind energy production is so completely insignificant, that when dealing with any climate issues, wind turbines have no benefit. These climate fixing arguments are not only impossible, it is fraud to make such claims. 

Our President Obama believes that climate change is the greatest threat facing mankind. I happen to believe the corruption of man is our greatest threat. An objective look at this ongoing wind energy scam is enough proof to support my beliefs. But if you do believe that man-made climate change is our greatest enemy and the greatest threat facing mankind, then consider what took place with another great enemy from our past.                                                                                                                              

During World War II, America was attacked and was facing a massive threat. In response, Americans united, quickly mobilized and made sacrifices. The war effort built modern ships, modern weapons, and a fleet of war planes so our military could face the enemy with our best possible efforts.  America did not mobilize against this enemy using fraudulent research and then have whore leaders provide our military an archaic fleet of canoes well equipped with clubs and spears. Yet in terms of creating massive amounts of energy, this is how utterly stupid and absurd wind turbine energy really is.

America has plans to rebuild its infrastructure and economy. This will never happen with leaders supporting this investment mafia of wind energy freeloaders.  It is long overdue that America slammed the door on this tax robbing industry.

Wind energy is a fraud on America and fraud based solutions feeding greedy investors, will never solve this world's problems. In a truly free market, businesses do fail and NFL coaches do get the fired for not producing.  But not with these clowns. Our leaders continue to let these economic parasites hang around and their corrupt friends in Congress continue to reward them for their destruction to this country. 

If you are part of this wind turbine fraud, it is now legal to kill 6200 eagles a year. You now have reason to rejoice because this new rule will bring wind supporters more wealth. It obviously does not matter that this law was created through corrupt channels and research fraud or that there is no greater good from these wind energy developments. What really matters is getting your way and increasing wealth. I know this to be true because all my proof sent in to the Interior Department, showing the numerous ways research mortality fraud was taking place, has been completely ignored.

While these schemers are looking forward to new riches now that they have permission to kill what is really an unlimited number of eagles from a limited continental population, my advice for every community across America is simple, get educated and fight this corporate tyranny. If you want to stop this insane environmental destruction, preserve quality of life in your community and landscape, and save tax dollars for services actually needed, then do the right thing ... Save an eagle and kill a wind turbine.

December Birds in the Valentine Vicinity

p>Wild birds present during this winter month primarily reflect records of occurrence for the usual mix of always noticeable residents. Prominent and known bird feeders are appreciated as food sources and numbers of birds were noted in association with some of these as observed from public property.

The Belted Kingfisher was a new addition to the monthly tally, as one lingered along the unfrozen portion of Minnechaduza Creek. Ruby-crowned Kinglet fit the same situation, and were denoted along north Main Street upon hearing their subtle whistle as it moved amidst the branches of a conifer.

Other new additions to the overall monthly tally were the Trumpeter Swan and Wilson's Snipe from the Niobrara River at Borman Bridge WMA and the Northern Bobwhite resident at an adjacent property comprising a woodland draw and an expanse of prairie. There is a project underway to renovate the draw to remove invasive cedar trees from amidst the pines and oaks.

Also notable during the month were lingering Common Starling and intermittent Eastern Bluebird. Wild sparrows were very sparse.

The number of Canada Goose present were notable, but the counts do not indicate their extensive numbers that roost on Niobrara River sandbars near the Highway 20/83 bridge east of town. Rock Dove are primarily at the livestock market. They like to roost on the power lines at its south side, making a count an easy task. A few American Crow are spending their winter here.

Overall there were these 33 species noted during the month. Some of these records are courtesy of Gordon Warrick, and I would like to convey my thanks for his interest in birding and picking me up outings could be made to notable places that are wildlife havens which provide a greater indication of local wildbirds. We even did some birding on the last day of the year, julian date 366, just because this is an intermittent opportunity.

My counts are typically done while walking near Valentine Mill Pond and spaces around and about town along streets and alleys and other public routes.

IOC Common Name 336 339 344 347 348 349 353 354 358 363 365 366
Canada Goose 275 325 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 495 - - 45
Cackling Goose 3 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - -
Trumpeter Swan 2 - - - - - - 5 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mallard - - 16 - - - - - - - - - - 6 - - 4 - - - -
Sharp-shinned Hawk - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Cooper's Hawk - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - -
Bald Eagle - - 1 - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Red-tailed Hawk - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 1
Wilson's Snipe - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Rock Dove - - 30 - - 19 - - - - - - - - 20 - - 15 - -
Eurasian Collared Dove 9 4 6 29 - - - - 2 12 21 4 - - 3
Great Horned Owl - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 1 - - - -
Belted Kingfisher - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 1 1 - - - - 1 1 1 - - - - - - - -
Downy Woodpecker 1 - - 1 2 - - - - 1 1 1 1 - - - -
Hairy Woodpecker - - - - 1 1 - - - - 1 - - 2 1 2 - -
Northern Flicker 1 1 - - 1 - - 4 - - - - 2 - - - - 3
Blue Jay - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - 1 1 - - - -
American Crow 2 - - 2 3 - - - - - - 2 3 3 - - 2
Cedar Waxwing - - 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - -
Black-capped Chickadee 2 - - 2 - - - - 2 2 2 2 2 - - 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - -
White-breasted Nuthatch 1 1 2 2 - - 2 1 1 3 2 - - 3
Common Starling - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 25 - - 2 - - - -
Eastern Bluebird - - 4 - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - - 4 6
American Robin - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8 2 - - 4
House Sparrow 75 - - - - 12 - - 32 - - - - 10 25 - - - -
House Finch - - 10 - - 2 - - - - - - - - 37 - - 3 2
American Goldfinch - - 2 - - 4 - - - - - - - - 8 3 - - 1
Dark-eyed Junco 14 16 2 10 - - 3 4 10 8 6 - - 2
American Tree Sparrow 8 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Northern Cardinal 1 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - -

There were 28 species noted in December 2015, with details kept for twelve dates. The combined list for the two months comprises 36 species. After 17 months of record keeping, there have been 121 species noted in the vicinity of the heart city.

It would be valuable for a city resident with a bird feeder to keep regular records of occurrences, including estimates of numbers on specific dates. Notably, the Northern Cardinal and Blue Jay would occur, yet these two species are seen only intermittently during my walking forays.

Schlagel Creek WMA Visit

A drive was made to this area on December 31st. The species present were: Great Horned Owl, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great Grey Shrike, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and American Tree Sparrow. This public area is in serious need of cedar tree removal as encroachment is extensive and ruining the prairie landscape.

Observed at nearby country locales were an American Kestrel, Northern Harrier and Red-tailed Hawk.

The most exciting observation was a defiant Badger in its shelter, and that did not like an intrusion.

04 January 2017

Comments on Wetland Regulations in Cherry County Development Plan and Zoning Regulations

Submitted at monthly meeting of Planning and Zoning Board; January 3, 2017. The comments herein indicated have been slightly modified from those provided at the meeting.
After reading my statement, none of the members of the board made any comment, and the chairman moved to the next agenda item. When a question was asked later in the meeting on how the board would address this matter, this request was once again basically ignored as no member of the zoning board made any effort — nor indicated any interest — to address this issue. It was obvious that the planning and zoning board members basically ignored this request to get the comprehensive plan and zoning regulations to have similar details.

The planning and zoning policy of Cherry county needs to be revised to indicate an accepted regulation based upon a clause indicated by the Cherry County Comprehensive Plan. Currently, this is not the situation.

Denoted in Implementation Strategy for Policy 4; Point A. Item 2 in the Cherry County Comprehensive Development Plan:

“All development (again, development does not include agriculture) potentially affecting wetlands must comply with state and federal wetlands protection programs.” (Cherry County Comprehensive Plan, 1997) “Development shall leave a naturally vegetated buffer surrounding all wetlands. Roads and utility lines may cross these buffers, but the project’s site plan should minimize such crossings.”

The verbiage is different in the zoning regulations where the provision indicates that all wetlands will be identified. Yet, there are no further indications of the purpose(s) for this clause.

The discrepancy is obvious. Therefore the variance needs to be actively considered and changed to indicate current conditions.

Any applicant should be required to provide written documentation with any Conditional Use Permit request to indicate compliance with, most notably, federal regulations, as well as any applicable state regulations regarding wetlands.

According to a representative of the Nebraska regulatory office of the Corps of Engineers at Omaha: "In order to determine if a wetland is isolated, and that the Corps does not have jurisdiction," an Approved Jurisdictional Determination should be completed by the person proposing the work, or the landowner. This determination would determine "whether a wetland or pond is a Waters of the U.S. (jurisdictional) or Waters of the State (not jurisdictional). "If it is jurisdictional a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit is required for impacts." ... "For the most part, the type of wetland is irrelevant to jurisdiction." The Corps cannot require that this determination be completed. An email response also indicated that only the Corps of Engineers can determine the "jurisdictional" status.

The zoning regulations should be updated to conform with the clause given in the county plan.