Tag: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

USFWS says it won’t set critical habitat for threatened bat

Northern long-eared bat
A northern long-eared bat. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Al Hicks.

Conservation groups say agency sold out to special interests

Staff Report

Federal biologists say they won’t designate critical habitat for a species of bat threatened by white-nose syndrome. The decision was immediately protested by conservation advocates, who claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to industry pressure in making the decision.

In a press release, the USFWS explained that designating critical habitat wouldn’t be prudent, because it might increase the risk of vandalism and disturbance to bats at hibernation sites and could hasten the spread of white-nose syndrome. The decision doesn’t affect the bat’s threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.

Long-eared bat populations have plummeted by up to 90 percent in some core areas, and conservation advocates say critical habitat could help protect the species. The Center for Biological Diversity said the decision is another example of the USFWS appeasing special interests “rather than protecting our most vulnerable animals.” Continue reading “USFWS says it won’t set critical habitat for threatened bat”

Watchdog group keeps door open for endangered species petitions

Two of the five lynx dens documented this spring by CDOW are in Summit County. PHOTO BY TANYA SHENK, COLORADO DIVISION OF WILDLIFE.
Two of the five lynx dens documented this spring by CDOW are in Summit County. Photo by Tanya Shenk/Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Feds dial back proposed regs that would have made it harder to seek endangered species protection

Staff Report

Many plants and animals that are protected as endangered species in the U.S. got that status because conservation groups — representing concerned citizens — petitioned the federal government. It’s a process that’s explicitly mandated by the Endangered Species Act, but that has led to serious frustration among government biocrats and various extractive industries that specialize in exploiting public land resources.

In an attempt to try and cripple citizen groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed making the petitioning process much more difficult by requiring pre-clearance from state agencies and limiting petitions to a single species. All in all, the proposal was aimed at trying to avoid giving protection to species that need it. Continue reading “Watchdog group keeps door open for endangered species petitions”

Feds to update oil and gas rules for wildlife refuges

A playa lake at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
A playa lake at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy USFWS.

USFWS taking public comment through Feb. 9

Staff Report

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to update 50-year-old regulations for oil and gas development on National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

Last week the agency published a proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement that would require fossil fuel companies to use modern best management practices, especially as they relate to abandoned infrastructure and debris.

According to the USFWS, the new regs would reduce refuge impacts, including habitat loss and degradation, wildlife mortality and displacement, and other risks to ecological integrity. Continue reading “Feds to update oil and gas rules for wildlife refuges”

Twitter chat to explore global warming wildlife impacts

Colorado moose
A moose cow and calves grazing near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.

Biologists take to social media for a Q&A

Staff Report

All over the world, global warming is affecting different types of animals, as well as entire ecosystems.

Scientists don’t yet understand exactly what will happen to all plants and animals, but after decades of warming temperatures, they have a pretty good idea of how some species will be affected.

Moose, for example, appear to be moving northward in response to warming temperatures as they seek to avoid infestations of bothersome and disease-carrying ticks. And salmon, which need cold and clear water, have also been affected by parasites in the Yukon River. Continue reading “Twitter chat to explore global warming wildlife impacts”

Environment: Feds extend comment period on controversial Endangered Species Act changes

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Can the Endangered Species Act be improved?

Proposed changes would make it harder for citizen groups to petition for protection

Staff Report

FRISCO — The feds will give the public an extra two months to weigh in on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, with a new comment deadline set for mid-September.

In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service published draft regulations, saying that the changes are aimed at improving transparency and inclusiveness. The move to freshen up the Endangered Species Act reflects “advances in conservation biology and genetics, as well as recent court decisions interpreting the Act’s provisions.” Continue reading “Environment: Feds extend comment period on controversial Endangered Species Act changes”

Piece-mealing greater sage-grouse toward extinction

Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
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 “Piece-mealing greater sage-grouse toward extinction”

Feds say Northern Rockies wolf population remains strong

Heavy snow has pushed elk out of the high country, so the Colorado Division of Wildlife will try to divert them from important livestock feeding areas in the Yampa Valley. PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PAKR SERVICE.
A pack of wolves surrounds an ungulate in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Wildlife advocates unhappy with state-sanctioned hunts

Staff Report

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 “Feds say Northern Rockies wolf population remains strong”