Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

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 stone flies 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.
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.

Fred Allendorf speaks during a Nov. 15, 2019 meeting in Missoula about grizzly bear connectivity. The meeting was called by five independent researchers. Organizers Jake Kreilick and Mike Bader are visible in the background.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

After Montana’s new Grizzly Bear Advisory Council met last week in Bozeman to map out a state management plan for the expanding grizzly bear populations near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, researchers in Missoula railed against turning management over from federal agencies to the state.

As grizzly bear populations in Montana expand into areas where they haven’t been seen for generations, so does the number of potential conflicts with humans.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The mortality rate of grizzly bears in northwestern Montana has prompted a group of bear researchers to challenge whether the grizzly should be removed from federal protection.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Conservation groups announced Monday that they sent a letter to BNSF Railway threatening a lawsuit over grizzly bears killed along its train tracks. So far this year, a record eight grizzlies from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) have been killed by trains.

Grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It’s illegal to kill them, even if it’s an accident.

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

The state of Montana filed its final arguments late last week in the complex and controversial lawsuit over the fate of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

In the summer of 2017 the Department of the Interior removed Endangered Species Act protections for the roughly 700 bears estimated to live in the area at the time. Tribes and conservation groups promptly filed suit and a federal judge in Missoula restored protections for the bruins last fall

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