Montana Public Radio

Endangered Species Act

Grizzly bear. File photo.
(PD)

Federal officials say they'll review the recent lifting of protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in light of a court ruling that retained protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that it is seeking public comment on the court ruling given the possible implications for an estimated 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Bear Management Units (BMUs) in the NCDE Primary Conservation Area. BMU subunits are outlined in light gray.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

As grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem move closer to a possible delisting, a plan for management for the bears is nearing a final publication. A committee in charge of organizing grizzly bear recovery in the region met Wednesday in Missoula.

Bear managers say grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), in and around Glacier National Park, are ready for federal protections to be lifted, which could allow a hunting season for the bear.

Grizzly bear at Swan Lake Flats in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

Most grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park are bedding down for winter, but the debate over the Trump administration removing Yellowstone grizzlies from the threatened species list earlier this year is not. De-listing is being challenged in court, and for now, the grizzlies are being managed by the states. 

Wyoming is considering a potential grizzly bear hunt, and its wildlife management agency is holding a series of meetings to get public input on that. As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Nate Hegyi found out at a meeting in Jackson, the public is divided.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

Keith Williams (CC-BY-2.0)

On Monday, Republican Senator Steve Daines joined three other Republicans in releasing draft legislation they say would reverse the so-called Cottonwood decision. Both Daines and his Democratic counterpart, Jon Tester, see it as one way to prevent wildfires, but it’s much bigger than that.

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

As the federal government prepares to remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the area around Glacier National Park, bear management experts say public acceptance of grizzlies will be crucial to their long term survival.

Chris Servheen saw what a difference that can make in his 35 year career as the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grizzly bear at Swan Lake Flats in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

Scientists and wildlife advocates meet Tuesday, 10/17 to discuss whether grizzly bears in northwest Montana are ready to lose Endangered Species Act protections.

Wildlife officials say they are, and want grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem de-listed by 2020.

But Michael Jarnevic, says that’s way too soon:

In central Montana, drones are dropping peanut butter pellets on prairie dog colonies. It’s part of of an effort by biologists at the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge to save North America’s most endangered mammal.

Ruling Reverses 'Threatened' Classification For Cabinet-Yaak Grizzlies

Aug 23, 2017
Grizzly bear.
(PD)

A judge has ruled a small population of grizzly bears in Montana and Idaho near the Canadian border can be considered "endangered" even if they are not "on the brink of extinction."

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's order Monday reversed the 2014 re-classification by U.S. wildlife officials for the 40 to 50 bears of the Cabinet-Yaak bear population under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear was officially removed from the threatened species list on Monday.

The Interior Department stripped federal protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park and they will now be managed by state and tribal agencies in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

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