Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reschedule hearings on plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Public hearings rescheduled for November
*More Summit Voice wolf coverage is online here
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s a little more time to comment on the controversial federal proposal to take gray wolves off the endangered species list, and boost protection for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled several public hearings on the plan, and the comment period has been extended through Dec. 17.
The hearings will be held. Nov. 19 in Denver, Nov. 20 in Albuquerque and Nov. 22 in Sacramento. Each hearing includes a short informational presentation. The Service has also added a public information meeting and hearing in Pinetop, Arizona, on Dec. 3. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species act, Environment, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, wolves | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal government shutdown won’t have big impact on state’s big game season
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The partial federal government shutdown has put a crimp in some hunting plans, but state officials are emphasizing that the state’s big season won’t see a big impact from the political theater in Washington, D.C.
More than 23 million acres of federal land in the state are open for fall hunting, and early snowfall could help make it one of the better seasons in recent years, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts.
“It’s unfortunate that hunters are receiving mixed messages from the federal agencies,” said Steve Yamashita, acting director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “While all of the National Forests in Colorado are open, the shutdown has confused sportsmen across the country and we’re trying to make sure people get the right information. Colorado is open this hunting season.” Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, hunting, recreation, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado big game season, Colorado deer hunting, Colorado elk hunting, Colorado parks and wildlife, federal shutdown, Government shutdown, hunting, National Wildlife Refuge, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Waterfowl production area | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Recovery team eyes White River Basin
The Colorado pikeminnow is one of four endangered species that could benefit from a proposed new plan to boost flows during critical seasons. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice stories on the Colorado River native fish conservation program are online here.
FRISCO — State and federal biologists are considering some changes to the Colorado River Native Fish Recovery Program in the White River Basin after a discussion with stakeholders.
The endangered fish — colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail — are already protected in the White River Basin, according to The Nature Conservancy. The changes would be a firming up of management expectations.
A similar approach has been used in other basins to ensure that current and future water needs are met for people and endangered fish. The White River management plan aims to:
- identify existing and some level of future water depletions;
- develop current hydrology and projected depletions to identify the effects of past and future water development on endangered fish habitat;
- identify the role of the White River in recovery of endangered fish;
- identify flow recommendations for endangered fish habitat in the White River; and
- identify a broad range of recovery actions to be carried out by the Recovery Program to support a recovered endangered fish population in the White River. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, public lands | Tagged: Colorado River, endangered species, endangered species act, native fish, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, White River Basin, Yampa River | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Predation by killer whales seen as main threat
A dramatic decline in sea otter numbers in southwest Alaska has prompted an all-out recovery effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Nothern sea otter. Photo via USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal officials have finally completed a recovery plan for northern sea otters living along the coast of southwest Alaska, but fully recovering the species may prove to be a big challenge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says predation by killer whales may be the single biggest factor in significant population declines documented since the 1950s.
“There may be few actions that can be taken to mitigate predation as a threat, but the sea otter recovery program should search for solutions and be open to novel ideas,” the scientists wrote in the recovery plan. Above all, more research is needed to pinpoint population trends and reasons for the decline, they wrote.
The 50 to 60 percent drop in otter numbers has had a dramatic effect on coastal ecosystems in the region. Otters are a keystone species in their ecosystem niche. They control sea urchin populations, which prevents over-grazing of underwater kelp forests, which are important habitat for a slew of other species. Read the recovery plan here. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Alaska, Aleutian Islands, biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, northern sea otters, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 31, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal agencies want to dial back their requirements to track impacts to endangered species. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Cutting back on take limits could put more plants and animals at risk of extinction
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Watchdog groups are warning that a proposal to weaken endangered species standards could put some plants and animals at greater risk of extinction.
The new rule would scale back the requirement that federal agencies fully track impacts to endangered species under broad programmatic environmental studies. Cumulative impacts on rare species from actions like oil and gas drilling would be discounted in the decision-making process, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The change is being proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, both agencies have repeatedly failed to track how the projects they approve are affecting rare and vanishing species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, NEPA, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds settle lawsuit, brightening prospects for Southwest wolf recovery
Mexican gray wolf. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Mexican gray wolves may get a little more breathing room in the southwestern U.S.
Settling a pair of lawsuits this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to propose increased recovery territory for the rare predators in Arizona and New Mexico and will drop plans to capture wolves entering the two states from Mexico. As part of the agreements, the agency will finalize a rule to allow direct release of captive Mexican gray wolves into New Mexico and to allow Mexican wolves to establish territories in an expanded area of the two states. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, conservation, endangered species, Environment, Mexican gray wolves, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Grizzlies may still be facing some challenges despite making a good recovery in the northern Rockies. Photo courtesy Dr. Christopher Servheen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Feds taking comment on plan to hand over management to states
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Conservation groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity say a federal plan for Yellowstone grizzly bears puts their fate in the hands of states that are “culturally hostile” to large carnivores. The recovery plan could put grizzlies back on the road toward extinction, the group warned in their comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wildlife conservation advocates are also worried that the plan doesn’t do enough to safeguard connectivity between populations. They want the federal wildlife agency to maintain Endangered Species Act protections for the bears until these issues can be resolved. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: endangered species act, grizzlies, grizzly bears, Idaho, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, Wyoming, Yellowstone | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse, courtesy USFWS.
Survey of studies provides regional context for conservation efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal scientists hope that a new report with extensive data on greater sage-grouse will help land managers develop more effective conservation strategies. The Baseline Environmental Report was released by the U.S. Geological Survey last month.
“This report summarizes several decades of work on sage-grouse populations and sagebrush habitat. It will serve as a useful tool for land and wildlife managers and provides a needed range-wide perspective,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species act, Greater sage-grouse, public lands, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Caving to political pressure from western states, the Obama administration wants to remove endangered species protections for the ecologically vital predators
A gray wolf follows a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy NPS/Doug Smith.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In a move that’s sure to spur another round of contentious lawsuits, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its controversial plan to take nearly all wolves across the U.S. off the endangered species list.
Federal biologists say wolves are recovered and no longer need endangered species protection, but conservation groups immediately blasted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying that the agency based its conclusions on faulty science.
“This is like kicking a patient out of the hospital when they’re still attached to life-support,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves cling to a sliver of their historic habitat in the lower 48 and now the Obama administration wants to arbitrarily declare victory and move on. They need to finish the job that Americans expect, not walk away the first chance they get. This proposal is a national disgrace and our wildlife deserve better,” Greenwald said. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf delisting, wolves | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wolves are recovered in Yellowstone, but a possible plan to take them off the Endangered Species List is highly controversial. Photo courtesy Yellowstone NP.
Leaked plan doesn’t live up to intent of Endangered Species Act
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A group of prominent scientists with expertise in wolf biology is taking issue with a draft plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. The document was leaked a few weeks ago, eliciting widespread criticism from wildlife advocates.
Federal wildlife agencies are under intense pressure from states to turn over wolf management. Congress has already set the stage for political interference in the wolf recovery process, and that step has put the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the edge of a very slippery slope. Any proposal to de-list wolves is likely to face significant opposition and legal challenges from conservation advocates. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, endangered species act, Gray Wolf, United States, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf delisting, wolves | 1 Comment »