USFWS considers protection for Rocky Mountain fisher

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.

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Commission denies wolf-quota increase, forwards grizzly hunt

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.

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Dems push back against anti-ESA riders

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.

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Bullock, Mead testify in Congress on Endangered Species Act

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.

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