When Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke removed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species list in late June, at least seven environmental groups filed notices of intent to sue him. But Indian tribes have beaten them to the punch, citing violations of religious freedom.Read More
On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was considering the Northern Rocky Mountain fisher for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The announcement opens a 30-day public comment period.
A petition submitted by six environmental groups, including the Friends of the Bitterroot, the Friends of the Clearwater and the Friends of the Wild Swan, prompted the action. The petition says fishers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are threatened by loss or curtailment of habitat or range, disease and predation, overutilization via incidental and direct trapping, and various other factors.Read More
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is moving ahead with a proposal to stop future mining development on more than 10 million acres of federal sage grouse habitat.
On Friday, the BLM released its draft environmental impact statement of the ramifications of freezing all future mining claims on federal land in six states, including Montana. That starts the clock on a comment period that will close on March 30. It’s the second chance for the public to comment, the first being the scoping period that occurred in late 2015.Read More
Federal conservation money is about to be squandered on a rushed dam project in eastern Montana that will do little to save an endangered fish, according to conservation groups.
Thursday is the final day for public comments on a proposed Army Corps of Engineering modification of Intake Diversion Dam on the Yellowstone River northeast of Glendive. Based upon events at recent public meetings and the accelerated decision timeline, conservation groups doubt the agency is interested in what they have to say.Read More
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tried to justify a big jump in a Gardiner area wolf quota, but after lengthy public comment, the Fish and Wildlife commission didn’t buy it.
On a 3-1 vote, the commission decided against an FWP proposal to increase the quota in management unit 313 to six wolves, even though the six would be meted out over time. The period of September 4 through November 30 would have a limit of three wolves and another three would be allowed between December 1 and March 15.Read More
On Wednesday, some people were still trying to rally eleventh-hour opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. Wednesday marked the final day of the 60-day public-comment period for a USFWS proposal to remove the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species list,.Read More
A federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take its wolverine ruling back to the drawing board, and this time, apply the best-available science.
On Monday, Missoula federal district Judge Dana Christensen was stern and meticulous in his criticism of the 2014 USFWS decision not to list the wolverine as threatened. In his 85-page ruling, he said the USFWS decision was “arbitrary and capricious” because it purposely ignored the best-available science on how climate change and genetic isolation would negatively affect the elusive carnivore.Read More
On Wednesday, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representative updated the legislative Environmental Quality Council on what the future might hold for grizzly bears in southwest Montana as long as endangered-species delisting moves forward.
Matt Hogan, USFWS Mountain Prairie Region Deputy Director, told the committee that a big part of the delisting proposal released last week is the associated Conservation Strategy, which should ensure Yellowstone area grizzly bear population stays viable after delisting. The conservation strategy sets bear mortality limits and regulatory mechanisms that Montana, Wyoming and Idaho must use if they implement hunting seasons.Read More
Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area may soon be treated like any other species if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s second delisting proposal is approved.
On Thursday, the USFWS announced it would remove the greater Yellowstone area grizzly bears from Endangered Species protection because the population has recovered. The decision was discussed at the most recent Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meeting in December, although it’s been looming for more than a year.Read More
An Idaho court ruling showed that the state of Montana did the right thing when it agreed to protect threatened Canada lynx from accidental trapping.
In a Jan. 8 ruling, Idaho federal District Judge Lynn Winmill agreed with environmental groups that Idaho’s trapping regulations were insufficient to protect lynx from being trapped accidentally in the Clearwater and Panhandle regions of the state. The judge ordered the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to spend the next 90 days working with the plaintiffs on trapping limits to prevent what the Endangered Species Act calls “incidental take” of lynx. In the meantime, trapping is suspended in those areas of Idaho.Read More
The 25-year-old Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee realized it has long overlooked some important aspects of doing business. Now it’s working on giving its members clearer guidance, which they’ll need if grizzly bears are delisted.
On Tuesday in Missoula, the 23-member Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee wrestled over how to compensate for chaos both within the committee and without after members voiced the need for better definition of the roles of the executive committee and the regional subcommittees that have been attempting to recover the grizzly bear for a quarter century.Read More
Republican leaders have stepped up their attacks on the Endangered Species Act. But with more species needing protection, Congressional Democrats have taken a stand against such efforts.
On Thursday, 25 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Pres. Obama protesting the large number of appropriations riders that seek to strip many of the protections in the Endangered Species Act. The riders would block federal protections for gray wolves, greater sage grouse, lesser prairie chicken, and numerous other species.Read More
The Republican members of a Senate subcommittee are looking to Western governors to give them fodder to limit the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
On Tuesday, three Republican members of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works held a hearing that they titled “Improving the Endangered Species Act.”
The hearing coincided with a Washington, D.C., meeting of the Western Governor’s Association, and WGA chairman Gov. Matt Mead, Wyo., has made the ESA the focus of this year’s WGA initiative.Read More