Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

US Wildlife Agency Seeks To Carve Out Areas From Protections

Sep 4, 2020
Lesser prairie chicken.
CC-BY-2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/larry1732/

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Trump administration proposal released Friday would allow the government to deny habitat protections for endangered animals and plants in areas that would see greater economic benefits from being developed — a change critics said could open lands to more energy development and other activities.

C. M. Delphia / Montana State University's Montana Entomology Collection

A federal review of existing data unveiled an alarming trend for the western bumblebee population: its numbers have dwindled by as much as 93% in the last two decades.

The U.S. Geological Survey finding will help inform a species status assessment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this fall, which may ultimately add the insect to its endangered species list.

An Arctic grayling run
Michael (Josh) Melton / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. wildlife officials on Wednesday rejected special protections for a rare, freshwater fish related to salmon that's been at the center of a long-running legal dispute. The decision cited conservation efforts that helped increase the Arctic grayling’s numbers in a Montana river.

The Associated Press obtained details of the decision not to protect the fish under the Endangered Species Act in advance of a public announcement.


Environmental groups filed the latest in a series of federal lawsuits against the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, this time challenging a permit to cross federal lands.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

The roughly 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park will remain federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday. 

The U.S. Supreme Court on July 6 upheld a stay on parts of construction for the 1,200-mile Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, which broke ground in northern Montana earlier this year.

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.

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