endangered species

A federal judge has restored Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In his ruling, U.S. district court judge Dana Christensen said the federal government didn’t use the best available science when it removed the bears from the threatened species list last year.

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Monday afternoon a federal district court judge placed the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear back under federal protection. This means Wyoming’s planned grizzly hunt will not happen and management will be returned to the federal government.  

A judge has decided that a grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming and Idaho must be delayed for another two weeks. Thursday, September 13 was the last day of a temporary restraining order filed by a conservation group two weeks ago. The grizzly bear hunt that was supposed to start on September 1 was stalled in hopes a federal district court judge would make a decision whether to restore federal protections to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear.

Wikimedia Commons

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen granted conservation groups and tribal representatives request for a temporary registration order Thursday evening. This stops Wyoming and Idaho’s planned grizzly hunt for 14 days that was set to start this Saturday. But Judge Christensen still hasn’t made a decision on whether the Yellowstone grizzly bears will be put back on the Threatened Species List.

Bob Wick, BLM

Some western lawmakers are up in arms over a Trump administration announcement that eases the requirements for drilling near sage grouse. For now, Wyoming isn't impacted by the announcement, though that could change.

Melodie Edwards


University of Wyoming bat researchers Ellen Whittle and Caitlin Gorden’s workday starts just before nightfall. First, Gorden says, they put up big nets across ponds where bats like to come to get a drink of water. 

Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts commends Congress for cutting controversial riders from the NDAA during the House vote
C-SPAN

A rider that would have stopped the sage grouse from receiving an endangered species listing for the next ten years was removed from a must-pass bill. 

Kimberly Fraser / USFWS via Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A long-forgotten section of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) shows that, back in 1973 when it was adopted, Congress originally intended to give states greater control over species management, especially about how to deal with their so-called incidental takes—or deaths. 

Tom Koerner/USFWS via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The Trump administration is proposing sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, but they’re actually late to the party - Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has been leading the GOP effort within Congress to revamp the decades-old legislation that was set up to protect animals on the brink of extinction back in 1973. It hasn’t been reauthorized since 1992 and Barrasso wants to overhaul it.

A Wyoming toad about to be released
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

A wildlife refuge near Laramie is expanding by nearly 600 acres. The Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one home to reintroduction efforts of the endangered Wyoming toad, whose population crashed in the mid-1970s. The amphibians have since been brought back to the area where they are beginning to breed in the wild.

Nathaniel Reed
The Everglades Foundation

Nathaniel Reed, who helped craft the Endangered Species Act and other crucial environmental legislation, passed away Wednesday at age 84. 

Hundreds of veterans are calling on Congress to scrap a seemingly unrelated attachment to this year’s defense spending bill.

The official banner for the US Senate Committee on Armed Services
US Senate Committee on Armed Services

Congress is set to begin ironing out differences in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. The bill funds Department of Defense programs and activities. 

Screenshot of a passage Sen. Barrasso's proposed draft legislation
Environment and Public Works Committee

U.S. Senator John Barrasso is leading an effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed draft legislation would give states more authority over endangered species.

US Fish and Wildlife Service-Mountain Prairie Region

After less than 20 years on the list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing the removal of a flowering plant from the list of threatened species. The pink and white Colorado butterfly plant grows up to three feet tall and along waterways in southeast Wyoming and Colorado’s Front Range but urban encroachment nearly wiped it out.

Maggie Mullen

Over the next few weeks, we're going to take you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.  

Most people visit Curt Gowdy State Park in Southeastern Wyoming for the world-class mountain biking, reservoirs filled with rainbow trout, and hikes through steep granite formations.

But entomologist Christy Bell comes for the bees.

Currently the sage grouse is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. And a bill before Congress  would prevent that from happening anytime in the next decade.

Conservationists from around the country are opposing congressional legislation to allow a four-lane highway through a desert tortoise preserve in fast-growing southwestern Utah.

Tom Koerner, USFWS

Early one spring evening, I meet University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s Zoe Nelson at a rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. Shadows grow long on red bluffs and green sagebrush prairie. It’s that time of night when all the birds are going bonkers. We’re out here as part of a program to get regular folks like me and my husband, Ken—he’s tonight’s driver—to help keep track of short-eared owls. The program is called WAFLS or Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study.

Animal rights advocates are asking the federal government to protect certain wild horses as an endangered species. It’s not their first attempt, but this time it’s a specific herd.

The Trump administration is proposing a major rule that could potentially weaken Endangered Species Act protections.


The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month earmarked billions of dollars for fighting wildfires.  Many conservationists and politicians celebrated that change.

But the legislation also rolls rolls back some environmental protections and that has split the conservation community.

Henry Mulligan; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American_bison_on_the_National_Bison_Range,_Montana.JPG

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision to deny Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bison.

 

Yellowstone National Park

Hunters killed the state quota of 44 wolves in Wyoming’s first wolf hunting season since endangered species protections were lifted last April. 

In 2017, under management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a record number of 113 wolves were killed in the state to control the growing number of livestock predations.

Holly Copeland / The Nature Conservancy

In the first quarter of 2018, the Bureau of Land Management will place seven times more acres of sage grouse habitat on sale in Wyoming for oil and gas drilling than it did during the same time last year. Holly Copeland, conservation scientist with The Nature Conservancy, crunched the numbers.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

Three environmental organizations joined together to file an administrative appeal Thursday to protest against an oil and gas lease sale proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The federal public land up for auction in March is located along the Yellowstone River and borders the Yellowstone National Park gateway community of Livingston, Montana. The Wilderness Society, Montana Wilderness Association, and Park County Environmental Council believe leases in the region threaten the outdoor economy.

Yellowstone National Park Emblem Sticker
National Park Service

A coalition of tribal and conservation groups is asking a judge to restore federal protections for Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears, as it also asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), to restore federal protections on their own.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso is advising the Department of Interior to focus on Wyoming as a prime example for sage grouse management. He wrote a letter to the department’s secretary, Ryan Zinke, writing that Wyoming is a leader in sage grouse management.

Joe Giersch, USGS

Scientists at the University of Wyoming have discovered an insect thought to be extinct in the region in four streams in the Tetons.

The glacier stonefly was believed to only survive in streams in Glacier National Park and the Beartooth Absorka Range in Montana. UW Invertebrate Zoologist Lusha Tronstad said the discovery has put the decision-making process on hold over whether to list the species.

A greater sage-grouse male struts for a female at a lek (dancing or mating ground) near Bridgeport, CA
Jeannie Stafford / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new report from the Endangered Species Coalition, a conservation group based in Washington D.C., says decisions on endangered species are undercut by politics. The report examines 10 fish, plant and wildlife conservation decisions where, according to the coalition, science was ignored or suppressed.

 

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