Posted on February 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates protest coyote-killing contest
A coyote in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy USGS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Animal welfare and wildlife conservation advocates have turned their attention to a bloodthirsty coyote-killing contest in northern California, where a local sheriff said he won’t enforce federal laws and apparently even justified the violation of those laws.
At issue is the Coyote Drive 13, an old-school predator slaughter that could potentially endanger other species, including a lone wolf that wandered into California last year.
“The concept of making a contest out of killing wildlife is ethically indefensible and suggests that wildlife have no value other than as live targets in an outdoor shooting gallery,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director and a wildlife consultant to the Animal Welfare Institute. “We intend to work with state officials to put an end to such gratuitous slaughter of wildlife as part of a contest to win prizes.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Animal welfare, California, Coyote Drive 13, coyotes, Modoc County, wildlife | 4 Comments »
Posted on February 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado mule deer browsing. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
State resource managers seek input from hunters and anglers
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —With deer herds in northwestern Colorado declining and the state’s trout likely facing another long, dry summer, wildlife managers may be looking at some tough choices in the months ahead.
To get some input from active hunters and anglers in the region, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is putting together regional caucuses to meet and discuss wildlife issues with managers, biologists and agency officials, with an upcoming meeting set for Feb. 20 in Grand Junction (6 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel, 755 Horizon Drive).
In addition to the wildlife-related discussion, attendees will select two delegates to represent the region’s wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen’s Roundtable to be held in Denver next month. The roundtable will provide hunters and anglers from the four regions of the state with direct access to agency officials, including wildlife commissioners. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, Environment, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, fishing, hunting, sportsmens roundtable, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A wolverine in snow. Photo courtesy USFWS/Steve Kroschel.
Nonessential, experimental designation could help restoration effort in Colorado
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — North American wolverines may get some help facing the threat of global warming, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed listing the omnivorous mammal as a threatened species, while designating a nonessential experimental population of the animals in the southern Rockies, including Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
The designation provides for allowable legal incidental taking of the wolverine within the defined nonessential population area and opens the door for a possible state-led reintroduction effort in Colorado. Under this designation, current land uses could generally continue unchanged if wolverines are reintroduced to Colorado in the future.
The announcement triggers a public comment period, as the agency seeks to shape a final version of the listing, taking input on any other potential threats faced by wolverines, and how the listing may affect human activities. Federal biologists aid they’d also consider whether reintroductions should be considered in other areas, including the Sierra Nevada of California. The formal proposal, along with public comment information, is HERE. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, global warming, wildlife, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Draft version may include outdated science
One of the maps included in the BLM draft resource management plan shows the oil and gas potential in the Mesa Verde play area.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The next big battle over fossil fuel development in Colorado is shaping up in the Piceance Basin, where a new draft BLM land-use plan would permit up to 15,000 new oil and gas wells in what’s been called the state’s mule deer factory.
Conservation groups say the BLM plan uses obsolete data and isn’t supported by the best available science.
John Ellenberger, the state’s former big game manager, said the BLM plan is full of holes and doesn’t address some basic issues, including how baseline data on wildlife will be gathered. He called the management approach that could result in high levels of disturbance in key wildlife habitat “unprecedented.’’
“If something like this goes through as planned, the deer are going to exist at much lower densities than in the past,’’ Ellenberger said. “The other thing is how do hunters react to it? Hunters don’t want to hunt in an industrial zone, with pump jacks, derricks, roads and other fixtures. They’re not going to drive from Pennsylvania, California or Missouri to hunt mule deer in the West and have that kind of experience.’’ (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, Colorado, Colorado Wildlife Federation, energy, Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Piceance Basin | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.
Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.
That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA, endangered species act, Environment, lynx, ski industry, White River National Forest, wildlife, Wolverine | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A bison grazes near a highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A long-running battle over Yellowstone bison was at least partly resolved this week, as a Montana judge upheld a state policy allowing the animals to roam outside Yellowstone National Park without facing harassment and death.
The state rules were challenged by ranchers opposed to allowing bison to graze in the Gardiner Basin, just north of the park, important habitat in the winter and early spring. Federal and state biologists decided last year to allow bison seasonal access until May 1 of each year, opening critical foraging lands when higher elevations in the park lack spring grasses for bison and other grazing animals.
“Today’s ruling represents a victory for all those who want to see wild bison as a living part of the Montana landscape,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who defended the bison policy in the case on behalf of the Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Yellowstone region’s bison herds are the descendants of the last wild bison in the American West, and today they stand as some of the last genetically pure bison in the world. The court rejected the idea that the law requires slaughtering these magnificent animals whenever they cross the park boundary.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Earthjustice, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Montana, north american bison, wandering bison, Yellowstone National Park | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A land trade adding new land to Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge will help connect the federal parcel to regional open space and trail systems.
Expansion helps link parcel to regional open space and trail networks
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal, state and local officials have finalized a complex land swap that expand Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge by about 1,200 acres and connect the refuge to regional open space and trail systems.
“Today’s action will significantly expand one of the cornerstones of Colorado’s open space and trails network and will protect the Front Range’s mountain backdrop as one of the state’s crown jewels,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “I applaud all the partners who have come together with the state and local communities to connect people to the great outdoors and to take this key step toward realizing the Rocky Mountain Greenway as America’s next great urban park.”
The Rocky Mountain Greenway will connect hundreds of miles of trails in the Denver metropolitan area. linking the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Rocky Flats and Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuges, Rocky Mountain National Park, and community trail systems. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, federal government, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Ken Salazar, open space, Rocky Flats national wildlife refuge, Rocky Mountain Greenway, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Gray wolves are making a comeback in Europe. Photo courtesy USFWS.
New data to help manage predator-prey relationships
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With European wolves slowly recovering from centuries of persecution, researchers have found distinctive feeding patterns that could help wildlife bioogists manage both prey and predator species.
Some European wolves show a clear preference for wild boar over other prey, according to a new study by scientists from Durham University, UK and the University of Sassari in Italy, who found that the diet of wolves was consistently dominated by the consumption of wild boar which accounted for about two thirds of total prey biomass, with roe deer accounting for around a third.
The study analyzed the remains of prey items in almost 2000 samples of wolf dung over a nine year period and revealed that an increase in roe deer in the wolf diet only occurred in years when boar densities were very low. In years of high roe deer densities, the wolves still preferred to catch wild boar.
The research team related the prey remains in wolf scat to the availability of possible prey in part of Tuscany, Italy – an area recently colonized by wolves.
“Our research demonstrates a consistent selection for wild boar among wolves in the study area, which could affect other prey species such as roe deer,” said lead author Miranda Davis, from the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Durham University. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Durham University, endangered species, European wolves, Roe Deer, University of Sassari, Wild boar, wildlife conservation | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 15, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Black howler monkeys may face threats from extreme weather linked with global warming. Photo courtesy Denver Zoo.
Mammal species, including rare primates, face the greatest threat
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Mammal species like black howler monkeys are most at risk from extreme weather events tied to climate change, according to a new study by the Zoological Society of London. In general, mammals are most threatened, according to the research, which mapped out mammal habitats and overlapped with areas expected to see intensified drought and cyclones.
The paper, published this week in the journal Conservation Letters, describes the results of assessing almost six thousand species of land mammals in this way. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, climate, extreme weather, global warming, wildlife, Yucatan spider monkey, Zoological Society of London | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Forest Service denies request for comment period extension; locals scrambling to study proposal, formulate input
The Forest Service wants to build 13 miles of new trails on Tenderfoot Mountain primarily for motorized use.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Summit County officials are scrambling to finalize comments on a Forest Service proposal to build 13 miles of new dirt bike trails on Tenderfoot Mountain after their request to extend the comment period was rejected.
At issue is a controversial plan to add a motorized trail system in the hills east of Highway 6 between Dillon and Keystone. County officials say a vast majority of residents in the area oppose the trail system. Forest Service planners say they are obligated to meet demand from all user groups.
Forest Service officials say new planning regulations adopted under the Bush administration prevent them from extending comment periods on environmental assessments. Conservation groups criticized the rules before they were adopted, saying they could inhibit public participation — and the Tenderfoot trail plan is a clear example of that. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Dillon Ranger District, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, US Forest Service, White River National Forest, wildlife | Tagged: Summit County Colorado, Summit County commissioners, Summit County News, Tenderfoot motorized trails, U.S. Forest Service | Leave a Comment »