Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

Hunter with a rifle.
iStock

A group of Montanans working to form consensus over the future of grizzly bear management in the state is divided over the role of hunting as grizzly populations expand.

The governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council, tasked with guiding the future of the bear's management in Montana, released draft recommendations last weekend.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Oral arguments over removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act are set for Tuesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The case over whether roughly 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park should be delisted has been passed up the court system for nearly three years.

Yellowstone bison often leave the confines of the park in the winter for lower elevations in Montana.
Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is done capturing wild bison for the year after rounding up almost 550 of the wild animals and sending most to slaughter as part of a population control program, park officials said.

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

A federal court in Missoula ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday to issue an overdue report assessing how threatened grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are doing. The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in U.S. District Court this summer.

Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Struggles With ‘Herculean’ Challenge In Missoula

Dec 6, 2019
Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council members Caroline Byrd, left, and Trina Jo Bradley, right, listen as council member Chad Bauer addresses Gov. Steve Bullock at an advisory council meeting in Missoula Dec. 5.
Alex Sakariassen / Montana Free Press

MISSOULA — Chad Bauer, a member of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council’s Dec. 4-5 meeting in Missoula. Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus. Bullock had recently announced the end of his presidential campaign, and Bauer, who works as a municipal market manager for Missoula waste hauler Republic Services, was three months into his role on the council. Bullock has given the council the task of delivering recommendations on the future of state grizzly bear management by the end of next summer.

A slide showing grizzly bear morality rates shown during Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Dec. 3, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The last two years have been the deadliest on record for grizzlies in and around Glacier National Park. There have been at least 48 grizzly mortalities this year in the area, called the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). As grizzly mortalities mount, bear managers in northwest Montana are trying to tackle the sources of rising deaths.

Grizzly bear with cubs.
(PD)

A record number of grizzly bears were killed this year in and around Glacier National Park. It’s the second year in a row of record deaths for the threatened species in the area, which is home to more grizzlies than anywhere in the lower 48 states.

But there’s disagreement over whether two years of record bear deaths should raise alarm bells.

Western glacier stoneflies thrive in glacial meltwater in high-elevation alpine environments. But scientists estimate the famed ice masses and snowfields of Glacier National Park will have mostly disappeared by 2030.
Joe Giersch, Aquatic Entomologist / USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

Two stone fly species found in Glacier National Park were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act Wednesday due to the impacts of climate change, according to a rule published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The two species, the western glacier stone fly and the meltwater lednian stone fly, depend on glacial meltwater in high-elevation alpine environments. But scientists estimate the famed ice masses and snowfields of Glacier National Park will have mostly disappeared by 2030.

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

Three environmental groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its recovery plan for bull trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The groups say the plan doesn’t provide any way to determine if and when the species is recovered.

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