Posted on April 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Feds won’t protect Mono Basin sage-grouse under Endangered Species Act
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Efforts to preserve biologically important remnants of the vast western sagebrush sea were dealt another blow today, as as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it won’t protect greater sage-grouse in California and Nevada under the Endangered Species Act.
The decision is another step in piece-mealing greater sage-grouse toward extinction, according to conservation advocates and biologists. The voluntary conservation measures touted by the federal agency won’t do much to protect the so-called bi-state greater sage-grouse population from threats like hardrock mining, exurban development and livestock grazing. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Greater sage-grouse, Mono Basin sage-grouse, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A pack of wolves surrounds an ungulate in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
Wildlife advocates unhappy with state-sanctioned hunts
FRISCO — Wolves in the northern Rockies are more than holding their own, even in the face of increasing hunting pressure in some states.
As of December 31, 2014, there were at least at least 1,657 wolves in 282 packs (including 85 breeding pairs) in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released its annual wolf recovery report this week. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: 2014 wolf numbers, 2014 wolf report, gray wolves, Northern Rockies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf recovery, wolves | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates say plans fall short of what’s needed for recovery of the species
A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.
FRISCO — Federal biologists said this week that their updated plans for endangered Mexican gray wolves will help protect the predators while respecting the needs of local communities, but conservation advocates will nevertheless fight at least parts of the new rule.
“This revision of the experimental population rule provides Mexican wolves the space they need to establish a larger and more genetically diverse population – a population that can meaningfully contribute to the subspecies’ recovery,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: endangered species, Mexican gray wolves, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf killing, wolf recovery | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Legal challenge says rare wildflowers in northwestern Colorado face threat from fossil fuel development despite voluntary conservation deal
A patchwork of conservation areas may not be enough to protect rare Colorado wildflowers from extinction as fossil fuel exploitation broadens in the Green River Basin.
The rare Graham’s penstemon grows primarily in the oil and gas patches of western Colorado and Utah. Photo courtesy Susan Meyer.
FRISCO — The fate of two rare plants in western Colorado and eastern Utah will likely once again rest in the hands of a federal judge, as a coalition of conservation groups said they will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to deny Endangered Species Act protection to the White River and Graham’s beardtongue.
The plants grow only across a few thousand acres, scattered across the same badlands where fossil fuel drillers are expanding their footprint. A voluntary conservation deal between the USFWS and the Bureau of Land Management, adopted last summer, doesn’t go far enough to protect the plants, conservation advocates said in their formal notice of intent to sue. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, wildflowers | Tagged: Colorado, endangered species, fossil fuels, oil shale impacts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, White River and Graham’s beardtongue | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolverine habitat in the western U.S.
Groups say federal agency erred by denying Endangered Species Act protection
FRISCO — Wildlife advocates are once again heading to federal court to seek Endangered Species Act protection for rare wolverines, a species deemed as vulnerable to global warming because of its dependence on deep spring snow cover for denning and breeding.
Wolverines live in small numbers mainly in the northern Rocky Mountains. The wide-ranging mammals were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near-extinction during the settlement era, and now face a climate whammy that could melt the big snowbanks they need for reproduction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed an endangered species listing in 2013 in a rule supported by the agency’s own scientific reports and by independent review panels, but then reversed course in May 2014, asserting that climate models are not accurate enough to pinpoint threats to wolverine habitat. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Conservation biology, endangered species, global warming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolverine habitat in the West.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will face new lawsuit over failure to give the species endangered species status
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In a decision that’s certain to trigger a new round of lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it won’t put wolverines on the Endangered Species List.
The decision was made by the agency’s regional directors from the areas where wolverines are native. In a release, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe contradicted all the best available science from his agency’s own biologists, claiming that there’s too much uncertainty about global warming impacts to list wolverines. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, global warming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds propose updates to management of Southwest wolves
Wolf pups recently born to a New Mexico pack. Photo by USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Rare and beleaguered Mexican gray wolves may get a little more room to roam in the Southwest, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes changes to a recovery plan from the species, including new releases of captive-bred wolves to bolster wild populations.
The new releases could happen in new areas of New Mexico and parts of Arizona where there are no wolf packs yet, and the federal agency’s proposed changes would also allow wolves to roam from the Mexican border to Interstate 40, a much broader region than currently permitted.
Only 83 Mexican wolves live in the wilds of the Southwest, including just five breeding pairs. Scientists have shown that inbreeding caused by a lack of wolf releases to the wild, coupled with too many killings and removals of wolves, is causing smaller litter sizes and lower pup-survival rates in the wild population. Expanding wolf releases to New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, in particular, would enable managers to diversify the population through new releases and diminish inbreeding. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Mexican gray wolves, predator restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | 3 Comments »