Posted on July 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Data will help assess global warming impacts to Arctic wildlife
Polar bears near a U.S. Navy submarine.
FRISCO — The latest generation of high-resolution satellite images may help scientists gain a better understanding of Arctic polar bear populations. Dwindling Arctic sea ice is seen a huge threat to the predators, but difficult field conditions make it challenging to get a clear picture of polar bear population dynamics.
Satellite images have also been used recently to track emperor penguins in Antarctica, and researchers are starting to rely on satellite images more and more. In a new study, U.S. Geological Survey biologists matched satellite surveys with ground-truthed counts. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: Arctic, Digital Globe, polar bears, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolves draw tourists to Denali National Park.
Death of breeding wolves affects pack size and persistence
FRISCO — Following a steep drop in the Denali National Park wolf population, biologists have documented how the death of breeding wolves affects pack size and persistence. The number of wolves in the 6million acre park in Alaska dropped from 143 in the fall of 2007 to just 55 wolves in the spring of 2013, raising concerns about impacts to tourism.
Many visitors come to Denali with the expectation of seeing wolves, but a recent state decision to allow wolf hunting in area previously deemed a buffer zone has had a big impact on wolf numbers. According to the latest research, the death of a breeding wolf sometimes results in a wolfpack disbanding. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Democracy, national parks, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, Denali National Park, Environment, wildlife, wolves | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘If things continue this way at Maroon Bells, it’s not if someone will be injured, but when’
A moose cow and calves grazing near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.
FRISCO — Colorado’s growing moose population is causing a safety issue in the popular Maroon Bells area, near Aspen, according to state wildlife officials, who say people are getting to close to the animals along the Crater Lake Trail. Forest Service rangers temporarily closed the trail, but said that risky behavior continues, despite numerous posted signs warning of the potential danger. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, hiking, recreation, wildlife | Tagged: Aspen, Colorado, Maroon Bells, Moose, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Dwindling birds caught in a tangled web of science and politics
FRISCO — Just a couple of weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $25 million in funding for greater sage-grouse conservation in California and Nevada, the federal government took another step in the long-running process to protect the dwindling birds by launching a new website.
Coordinated by three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service information specialists, the new site emphasizes the collaborative nature of the conservation effort to protect the birds and their oft-overlooked sage-steppe habitat.
The scruffy badlands that stretch patchily between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada may look empty, but there’s more than meets the eye, the USFWS explains on the new site’s intro page. Sage may dominate big slices of the landscape, but the ecosystem is threatened because not much of it is protected. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, endangered species, Greater sage-grouse, Gunnison Sage Grouse, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Are wolverines in the U.S. doomed by global warming?
Leaked memo suggests USFWS is bowing to political pressure from western states
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal officials apparently won’t let the best available science stop them from making yet another politically motivated endangered species decision.
This time, wolverines are at issue, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to withdraw a proposal to list the rare mammal based on threats posed by global warming. The agency hasn’t officially announced its intention, but a leaked memo shows that USFWS Mountain-Prairie regional director Noreen Walsh wants to override the recommendations of her own scientists and withdraw the listing proposal. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, global warming, Noreen Walsh, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Report addresses brucellosis concerns
Badlands bison. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Bison may not be getting much love in Montana, where livestock producers have repeatedly blocked efforts to restore herds outside Yellowstone National Park, but the federal government has identified ways to address concerns about brucellosis, according to a comprehensive new report on bison conservation released last week.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Interior, the report “reaffirms the commitment to work with states, tribes and other partners to promote the restoration of bison to appropriate and well-managed levels on public and tribal lands.”
“The Interior Department has more than a century-long legacy of conserving the North American bison, and we will continue to pursue the ecological and cultural restoration of the species on behalf of the American public and American Indian tribes who have a special connection to this iconic animal,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Bison, Environment, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New lynx conservation studies posted for public comment
New federal documents spell out how a critical habitat designation for lynx could affect activities on federally managed lands.
Lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy Tanya Shenk/Colorado Division of Wildlife.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Designating 41,000 square miles of critical habitat for lynx in the northern Rocky Mountains won’t have a huge economic impact, federal biologists said last week as they took another step toward finalizing conservation measures for the threatened wild cat. Most costs associated with lynx conservation will be on the administrative side, as the critical habitat designation would result in the need for more coordination among federal agencies. Visit this Federal Register page to view all the documents and comment.
Two draft studies examining the effects of the proposed critical habitat designation in Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming were posted July 21 in the Federal Register for public comment. The latest version of the long-contested proposal includes revised critical habitat maps “based on where the best science indicates the habitat could support lynx populations over time,” but includes only areas where lynx populations already exist” — with the exception of Colorado. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, critical habitat, endangered species, lynx, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Public input wanted
FRISCO —Colorado is set to start updating a critical wildlife action plan that helps the state qualify for federal grant funds to protect habitat. The existing version of the plan was completed in 2006 and is due for a mandated 10-year overhaul.
State Wildlife Action Plans originated in the early 2000’s after a coalition of federal and state resource agencies, sportsmen’s groups, conservation groups, non-governmental organizations, businesses and private citizens joined in partnership, urging the feds to provide grants for wildlife and habitat conservation. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, habitat protection, state wildlife grants, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Stakeholders to help hash out a plan in facilitated meeting format
A Colorado mule deer near Missouri Creek. Photo courtesy Kim Fenske.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice mule deer stories here
FRISCO —Colorado wildlife managers are trying to develop a strategy to confront the continued decline in the state’s mule deer population. To get some input on shaping a plan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in coordination with The Keystone Center, an independent facilitator, is holding a series of seven public meetings across the state, including three in the northwest region during May. The resulting strategy will guide agency efforts to work towards increasing mule deer populations. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: climate, Colorado, energy, fossil fuels, hunting, Mule deer, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists track decline of iconic Galápagos birds
FRISCO — Populations of blue-footed boobies, one of the Galápagos Islands iconic species, have dwindled by a third since the 1960s, mainly because the birds don’t seem to be finding the food they need to breed and raise chicks.
The population decline is so steep that the birds are in danger of dying out, according to a new study published in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. The researchers found that sardines have all but disappeared from the birds’ diet, said Wake Forest University biology professor Dave Anderson. Without that primary food source, adult birds are simply choosing not to breed, he said. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, blue-foote boobies, conservation, Galapagos Islands, wildlife | Leave a comment »