endangered species act

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.

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. 

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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.

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.


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.

This largely nocturnal mouse lives primarily in heavily vegetated, shrub dominated riparian (streamside) habitats and immediately adjacent upland habitats along the foothills of southeastern Wyoming south to Colorado Springs along the eastern edge of the
USFWS

The Center for Biological Diversity and Rocky Mountain Wild, both conservation groups, filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue protections of the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse under the Endangered Species Act. 

The small mouse is considered threatened and occupies stream-side habitat in the front range of Wyoming and Colorado. 

Mark R. / Flickr

U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney has sponsored an amendment that would weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 on the eve of its 100-year anniversary.

National Audubon Society Policy Advisor Erik Schneider said the Act shouldn’t be changed because for 100 years, it has protected North American birds effectively. It was adopted in the early 1900s when bird plumes were fashionable on lady's hats and clothing.

Schneider also said the amendment gives an advantage to the energy industry.

Joe Giersch of USGS

As climate change melts away glaciers, it’s also drying up the habitat of two insects who live in the cold mountain streams that flow out of those glaciers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to list them as endangered. According to the Fish and Wildlife biologist James Boyd, warming temperatures are causing the glacier stonefly and the meltwater lednian stonefly’s habitat to shrink and what’s left of it to become too hot.

(NPS Photo/ Tim Rains)

The Endangered Species Act has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the act was intended to highlight the “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” But Wyoming Senator John Barrasso says it needs updating.

“The Endangered Species Act was written, created and adopted for all the right reasons and there’s just too much sand in the gears right now.”

Barrasso says the Act creates too many hoops and hurdles.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

A coalition of conservation groups announced Friday, June 30, they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) unless it decides to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

USFWS delisted Yellowstone-area bears last month with the support of members of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, who said that the population is recovered and ready for state management.

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U.S. Department of Interior

Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone National Park have been removed from the endangered species list. The bear has been considered endangered since 1975 when there were only 150 of them remaining. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke said, with a population now close to 700 in the area, the species has been sufficiently recovered. Governor Matt Mead agreed saying it's been true since 2003. 

The decision will put management into the hands of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and local tribes in about a month. 

Volunteers carrying toads down to Mortenson Lake
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Endangered Species Act is threatened. Or at least facing significant reform. Momentum in Congress and in western states is building to make changes to the landmark regulation that protects threatened animal and plant species and their habitats. 

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service debating whether to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered species list this summer, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is hosting a screening of two films on the species.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Andrea Santarsiere worked on one of the films, “Trophy,” about how trophy hunting has hurt grizzly populations in British Columbia. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are considering the option of allowing trophy hunting of grizzlies if the species is delisted.

Gary Kramer - US Fish & Wildlife Service

Do you agree that Wyoming's gray wolf is ready for delisting from the Endangered Species List?

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National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Senate is considering changes to the Endangered Species Act. 

What do you think about this?

Endangered Species Act

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Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

A delisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear was expected by the first of the year but has been pushed back at least six months after a public comment period brought in thousands of letters of opposition. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director Michael Thabault says over 650,000 comments poured in, and it's going to take them longer than expected to respond. 

johnvillella

Not long ago, the bright-orange monarch butterfly was a common sight in Wyoming. Now, not so much. So conservation groups are enlisting Wyomingites to help track down how many are still migrating through.

Nature Conservancy Scientist Amy Pocewicz said the species is in serious decline because the forests where they overwinter in Mexico have been disappearing. The monarch was petitioned for possible listing as an endangered species in 2014 and the federal government is now a year overdue in making that decision. 

Carol S. Bock

A national Native American conservation group says grizzly bears shouldn’t be removed from the Endangered Species List, but instead should expand the bear’s range onto tribal lands.

Ben Nuvamsa is a former Hopi councilman and a spokesman for Guardians of Our Ancestor’s Legacy or GOAL. He said the grizzly plays an intricate role in the belief systems of many tribes.

Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

When you think of pocket gophers, you may think of their holes covering large swaths of land. But in Wyoming’s Red Desert there’s a very rare species of pocket gopher and an environmental group is concerned it could soon become extinct.

This week, WildEarth Guardians filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the Wyoming pocket gopher listed as endangered. Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist for the group and he says the problem is that the species only lives in a specific brush called the Gardner's saltbush.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says it'll take most of a year to complete the process of delisting grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List.

Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik says not only will the feds require a 60 day comment period but the state will need to complete a management plan and collect its own public input. He says a hunting season would be part of that plan.

Wikimedia Commons

Last fall, many groups celebrated when the federal government decided not to list the sage grouse as an endangered species and rolled out plans to ensure the bird’s populations didn’t continue to dwindle. But now a group of wildlife advocacy organizations is suing the federal government for not making those plans strong enough. 

Environmental advocates are celebrating this week after Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill that at one point included several provisions blocking conservation efforts.

After much talk of letting it lapse, the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund was re-authorized to fund city parks and national park in-holdings. It also gave a 6% increase to federal land management agencies, a total of over $32 billion.

Bob Beck

  

Last weekend Wyoming’s annual sage grouse hunt began. Many hunters were worried that this could be the last hunt in a while, since the bird was facing the possibility of getting listed as an endangered species. When the chicken-sized bird started seeing declines in the 1990’s, some states stopped sage grouse hunting altogether. Wyoming continued its hunt after changing the start date and limiting the take. That will continue, even as the state continues mandated conservation efforts. 

Melodie Edwards

  

You might have heard a strange sound this last Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. It was a sigh of relief from ranchers, oil and gas workers and miners all over the West at the announcement that the greater sage grouse won't be listed as an endangered species. But you probably also heard the slapping of foreheads from wildlife advocates who say the grouse needs full federal protections if it’s going to survive.

In Tuesday’s announcement that the greater sage grouse will not be listed as an endangered species, the state of Wyoming got a lot of the credit by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe who said the state's strategy for bringing the bird back from the brink showed long range vision.

“I have to point out singularly the leadership from the state of Wyoming in designing the Core Area Strategy back in 2008. Because it was Wyoming’s leadership that showed us what was possible for sage grouse conservation.”

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