endangered species act

Federal officials have announced changes to the Endangered Species Act, which could have big impacts on wildlife and habitat throughout our region.

Sara Armstrong / USFWS Mountain-Prairie

What do you think about proposed reforms to the Endangered Species Act?

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The Trump administration has made several rule changes to the Endangered Species Act that they say will provide transparency while protecting species.

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The federal government is officially pursuing an appeal on a judge's decision to put the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear back under Endangered Species Act protections.

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The U.S. Forest Service released a proposed plan to amend the Thunder Basin National Grasslands management of prairie dogs, but some wildlife groups are unhappy with the result, even after years of stakeholder collaborations.

Russ Bacon is the Forest Supervisor for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. He said the species’ population exploded a couple years back, making it impossible to keep them on the 18,000 acres.

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The U.S. has long solved environmental issues through conflict and regulation, but a former federal agriculture official said it's time for a paradigm shift that solves them through consensus. Former U.S. Agriculture Department Under Secretary Robert Bonnie will address that issue at the University of Wyoming on Thursday.

Wyoming toad
Sara Armstrong / USFWS Mountain-Prairie

A private property owner has donated 41 acres of land to the city of Laramie where about 200 endangered Wyoming toads were recently released. The landowner originally agreed to a safe harbor agreement with the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, meaning the owner can release an endangered species on their land without worrying about accidentally killing some. 

MILFORD, Utah — The San Francisco Mountains in southwestern Utah were once home to one of the richest silver mines in the world. When it comes to mining today, they stand mostly quiet — for now — with only a handful of rock mines operating in the area.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Several western states have spent the last five years trying to count the shy and rare wolverine, a high mountain scavenger in the weasel family. Wildlife agencies in Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and Montana set up camera traps and collected hair samples from the alpine scavenger in 183 locations and the findings are gratifying, said Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist Nichole Bjornlie.

A week after the state of Wyoming filed a notice of appeal a judge's decision to put the Yellowstone grizzly bear back on Endangered Species Act protections, other defendants have followed.

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Wyoming plans to appeal a U.S. District Court Judge's decision from September to put the Yellowstone grizzly bear back on endangered species act protections.

By Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

The conflict over whether Yellowstone grizzly bears should be off or on Endangered Species Act protections has been an ongoing controversy for years. Even after a judge put grizzlies back under federal protections this Fall, the debate continues. Those in favor of the judge's decision and those against are suspicious of each other's motives.

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Wyoming officials have long been trying to reform the Endangered Species Act. Just last week, Wyoming Game and Fish Deputy Director testified to a Senate committee why more funding is needed.  A new online application tool hopes to aid wildlife managers with budget needs for individual species. 

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted to move forward with a bill that would remove federal protections from gray wolves and limit judicial review of listing decisions.

U.S. Senator John Barasso's Office

Wyoming Game and Fish Deputy Director John Kennedy testified to a Senate committee Thursday in Washington D.C. on why Congress should pass legislation to permanently help fund state wildlife agencies. Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso chairs the Committee on the Environment and Public Works that heard Kennedy's testimony and has been working for months to reform the Endangered Species Act to make it easier to de-list species.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This comes right after a court ruling on Monday that returned federal protections back to the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Republicans have long been pushing for the modernization of the ESA, including Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso.

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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. 

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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. 

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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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