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Environment: Cows versus greater sage-grouse?

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Greater sage-grouse need tall grass for nesting. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Study shows livestock grazing a key factor in greater sage-grouse decline

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new study by sage grouse scientists confirms that the height of grass cover in nesting habitat is a key factor in determining greater sage grouse nest success.

The findings suggest that better grazing management is needed to protect the threatened birds. Cattle eat native vegetation that sage grouse require for hiding their nests from predators. Continue reading

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Is it time to end barbaric wildlife killing contests?

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Should coyoyes be targeted in wildlife killing contests?

Advocacy groups seek ban in New Mexico

Staff Report

FRISCO — Emboldened by California’s recent ban on wildlife killing contests, wildlife advocates say they want lawmakers to enact similar restrictions in New Mexico, which holds more such events than any other state.

A coalition of 10 groups is calling on the governor and state legislature to ban contests that target coyotes, bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs and other animals, calling them immoral and biologically unsound. Continue reading

Collaborative conservation plan eyed for Wyoming toad

A Wyoming toad. Photo via USFWS.

A Wyoming toad. Photo via USFWS.

Voluntary conservation easements would protect habitat and traditional land use

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal biologists are seeking input on a draft plan to protect habitat for the endangered Wyoming toad. The species was common in the Laramie plains area through the 1970s, when populations crashed, leading to an endangered species listing in 1984.

 

The proposed conservation would enable the USFWS to buy conservation easements and limited fee-title lands from willing sellers in the Southern Laramie River area whose lands provide important habitat for the endangered Wyoming toad and a variety of other fish and wildlife resources. Continue reading

Climate: Rocky Mountain glacier meltdown threatens rare stone fly and other aquatic insects

‘Soon there will be nowhere left for the stonefly to go’

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This rare stonefly is unlikely to survive the meltdown of Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy USGS.

FRISCO — Scientists say a rare aquatic insect, found only in Glacier National Park, is unlikely to survive the meltdown of the region’s glaciers.

In a new study published in Freshwater Science, U.S. Geological Survey researchers show the shrinking habitat of the western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) associated with glacial recession using data spanning from 1960 – 2012. The western glacier stonefly is only found in Glacier National Park and was first identified in streams there in 1963. Continue reading

Feds making progress on endangered species

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A lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy CPW.

Annual endangered species list update shows 146 species awaiting protection

Staff Report

FRISCO — Despite a nearly continuous string of endangered species lawsuits, conservation advocates say they’re pleased overall with recent progress on protecting plants and animals in danger of extinction.

For the second year in a row, the number of species waiting for Endangered Species Act protection decisions remains below 150, according to a summary released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — the lowest number since the endangered species waiting list was created in its current form in the 1990s. The 2014 “candidate notice of review” released by the agency today includes 146 species now awaiting protection: 79 animals and 67 plants. Continue reading

Lawsuit targets protection for rare Colorado lizard

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A Colorado checkered whiptail in southeastern Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

Wildlife advocates say USFWS has missed deadline for listing decision

Staff Report

FRISCO — An unusual Colorado lizard that lives in  grasslands and juniper woodlands has been targeted for protection by conservation advocates.

The Center for Biological Diversity last week filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to decide whether the Colorado checkered whiptail warrants consideration for Endangered Species Act protection.

The Center first petitioned for this lizard — along with 52 other amphibians and reptiles — in July 2012 because habitat loss and other factors are threatening them with extinction.   Continue reading

Idaho’s sockeye salmon escape the ‘extinction vortex’

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Sockeye salmon in a spawning stream in the Pacific Northwest. Photo via Wikimedia and the Creative Commons.

20-year recovery effort showing strong results

Staff Report

FRISCO — After nearly disappearing in swirl of an “extinction vortex,” Snake River sockeye salmon are back and regaining the fitness of their wild ancestors.

“This is a real American endangered species success story,” said Will Stelle, administrator of NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region. “With only a handful of remaining fish, biologists brought the best genetic science to bear and the region lent its lasting support. Now there is real potential that this species will be self-sustaining again. The sockeye didn’t give up hope and neither did we.” Continue reading

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