MTPR

Western Watersheds Project

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.

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.

While a federal agency recently reauthorized a poison used in a predator-killing cyanide trap, more states are banning or limiting where they can be used. That includes around 10 million acres of public land in Wyoming.

The Flathead Forest’s new forest plan was signed in December.
Flathead National Forest

Two conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit this week, challenging the 2018 Flathead Forest Plan.

WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project say the 10 to 15 year management plan for the 2.4 million acre forest decreases habitat protections for wildlife, including grizzly bears, Canada lynx and bull trout.
 

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Conservation groups are asking a federal judge to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on energy companies that were meant to protect a struggling Western bird species.

Attorneys for Western Watersheds Project, Prairie Hills Audubon Society and two other groups made the request Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boise, Idaho.

Groups Intend To Sue Over New Wyoming Grizzly Hunt Law

Feb 20, 2019
Grizzly bear, file photo.
(PD)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental groups have filed notice they intend to sue over a new Wyoming law that could authorize grizzly bear hunting even though grizzlies are federally protected.

US Approves Sheep Grazing Research In Grizzly Bear Area

Sep 6, 2018
A sheep research flock at U.S. Sheep Experiment Station
USDA (PD)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federally-run sheep experiment station in eastern Idaho long targeted by environmental groups will resume grazing sheep in the Centennial Mountains of Idaho and Montana next year.

The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station will open on 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) of sheep station land and 5 square miles (13 square kilometers) of U.S. Forest Service land, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Environmental groups sued the Trump administration on Monday for selling oil and gas leases on huge swaths of Western public lands while allegedly ignoring policies meant to protect an imperiled bird.

Attorneys for Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity asked a federal judge in Idaho to reverse lease sales totaling 475 square miles (1,230 square kilometers) in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.

Wildlife Advocates To Sue For Yellowstone Bison Protections

Jul 12, 2016
Bringing bison back to the Blackfeet Reservation and their historic range on land that now belongs to the U.S. Forest Service, like the Badger-Two Medicine and Chief Mountain, is a vision eight years in the making.
(PD)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates will use the courts to try to force the U.S. government to evaluate whether Yellowstone National Park bison are a threatened or endangered species after federal officials rejected their petition earlier this year to protect the national mammal.

Conservation groups seek extension of wolf monitoring program
(PD)

Five conservation groups want to extend a five year federal wolf monitoring program in Idaho and Montana. Those groups put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on notice Wednesday that the monitoring program should be extended another 5 years. And they’re willing to sue to make it happen.