Montana Public Radio

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining and other activities across millions of acres in the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird species.

Land management documents released by the U.S. Interior Department show the administration intends to open more public lands to leasing and allow waivers for drilling to encroach into the habitat of greater sage grouse.

Wyoming Files Notice It Will Appeal Grizzly Bear Ruling

Dec 6, 2018
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming has filed notice it will appeal a judge's decision to restore federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in September that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in removing Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bears in 2017.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on Monday to proceed with a rule related to the management of grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if the bears are removed from the endangered species list.

Hilary Cooley, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, presenting at an annual meeting on grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, Nov. 20, 2018.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it no longer plans to propose removing the population of grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park from the endangered species list this year.

"We were on track to try and have a proposal, or at least have an evaluation of recovery and a potential proposal, out by the end of the calendar year," says Hilary Cooley, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, at an annual meeting Tuesday on grizzlies in what’s known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, or NCDE. 

House Passes Bill To Drop Legal Protections For Gray Wolves

Nov 16, 2018
Gray wolf.
iStock

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Friday to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species.

Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Since securing protection in the 1970s, wolves have bounced back in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Bear Biologist Cecily Costello at the Wednesday meeting
Nick Mott

Editor’s Note: After this story aired, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks contacted us about how we characterized the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem’s grizzly bear conservation strategy. See the * below for clarification.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is going ahead with business as usual on a rule related to removing grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park from the endangered species list.

Longtime grizzly advocate Mike Bader presents at a letter-writing meetup for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' new grizzly rule.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says Monday’s federal ruling to put grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park back on the Endangered Species List will not affect the agency’s work on a new rule that will dictate how Montana will manage grizzlies in and around Glacier National Park if that population is removed from the Endangered Species List.

Proper food storage in bear country is a matter of life and death for bears.
YellowstoneNPS (PD)

Public meetings on how the state will deal with the growing number of grizzly bears around Glacier National Park if they’re removed from the endangered species list begin this week.

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 18 in Great Falls, the meetings are about a proposed Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks rule saying Montana aims to maintain a population of at least 800 bears in what’s known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, a swath of land home to the largest grizzly population in the lower 48.

Grizzly bear. File photo.
(PD)

Opponents of removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list asked a federal judge Wednesday to put a second delay on grizzly hunts that were slated to start at the beginning of September in Wyoming and Idaho.

A record number of grizzly bears are being killed by cars as they roam the roads in and around Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. At the same time, they're causing an unprecedented amount of damage to crops and livestock.

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