Biodiversity: ‘Safe harbor’ for endangered Owens pupfish?

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Owens pupfish may find safe harbor on Native American lands in California’s Owens Valley. Photo courtesy California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Agreement with Native Americans could bolster populations of listed fish

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal biologists are teaming up with Native Americans in eastern California to try and recover the endangered Owens pupfish under a safe harbor agreement that may include translocation of wild Owens pupfish to tribal lands, maintaining habitat, providing a source population for future reintroductions, and public education and outreach. Continue reading

Biodiversity: More California condor chicks take flight

An endangered California condor in flight over Zion National Park. PHOTO FROM THE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

An endangered California condor in flight over Zion National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

73 condors now living in the wild in Utah and Arizona

Staff Report

FRISCO — In another small, encouraging sign that California condors may avoid extinction, biologists said last week that two-wild-fledged chicks have left their nests and taken flight in northern Arizona. A third condor chick — the first wild-fledged in Utah — did not survive.

California condors once soared widely from California to Florida and Western Canada to Northern Mexico but were nearly wiped out by the middle of the 20th century and listed as endangered in 1967. In 1982, only 23 condors survived world-wide, and in 1987, all remaining wild condors were placed into a captive breeding program. Continue reading

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

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

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