The ongoing mule deer study is turning up some interesting data . . .
Preliminary data from a 2-1/2-year long mule deer study is showing some interesting facets in the animals’ behavior and movement across the landscape in Northwest Montana.
Researchers from the University of Montana in cooperation with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, radio collared 44 mule deer on the Rocky Mountain Front near Augusta, 26 in the Fisher River drainage and 31 in the Whitefish range.
Currently, of those deer, 26 are still “on air” along the front, 21 near the Fisher and 19 in the Whitefish Range.
Each year, the Winter Speaker Series covers some interesting topics . . .
The annual Winter Speaker Series, sponsored by Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates (GNPVA), has been a tradition in the Flathead Valley for decades, in which a guest speakers present subjects of interest related to Glacier Park on the fourth Monday of January, February and March.
The talks are free and open to the public.
The speaker on Jan. 28 is Brian Sommers, a criminal investigator with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Sommers, who has been a Montana game warden for 30 years, will give a presentation called “Stories From the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team” at 7 p.m. at the Museum at Central School in Kalispell.
On Feb. 25, Teagan Tomlin, an interpretive ranger in Glacier Park, will present “If Rocks Could Talk.” Tomlin will take listeners through the park’s geologic history and describe four major phases that helped shape the park’s scenery. Her presentation will help listeners interpret the physical appearance of rocks in the park and better understand how Montana has changed over the past 1.5 billion years. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. at the Museum at Central School.
On March 25, Adam Osborne, field manager for Dick Anderson Construction, and other supporting project members will discuss rebuilding Sperry Chalet. The presentation will include photos taken by Amy Boring during Phase 1 of the reconstruction project. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Flathead Valley Community College’s Arts and Technology Building in the Large Community Room (room 139).
For questions, call Teri at (406) 261-1840 or Mike at (406) 548-8949.
Here’s a good article on the wolf management difficulties faced by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks . . .
Wolves are complex critters that for centuries have inspired myths and legends while generating fierce controversies, an animal whose presence on the landscape is at once magical and maddening, captivating wildlife lovers while commanding condemnation from hunters who say the population of predators is decimating the bounty of big game in Montana.
Livestock producers living on the wild edges of wolf country have their own set of challenges, forced to keep constant vigil over calving pastures that serve as a veritable beef buffet for a pack of predators.
And wildlife managers with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the agency tasked with implementing regulatory mechanisms to manage wolves following delisting of the species from the Endangered Species Act in 2011, which granted the state full management authority of its wolf population, are caught in the middle, seeking to strike a delicate balance amid competing interests that remain bitterly divided.
The Winter 2019 Interlocal Meeting will be hosted by Flathead County. It is scheduled to be held at 10:00am on Wednesday, February 20 at the Flathead Forest headquarters building, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901. (The Forest Service volunteered to supply meeting space.) The meeting usually lasts abut three hours.
Due to the government shutdown, please note that this schedule is *tentative*.
The Interlocal Agreement provides for face-to-face contact with representatives of agencies whose policies and actions affect the North Fork. Interlocal Agreement meetings are held in the winter (in town) and summer (at Sondreson Hall). Agency attendees include Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Montana Department of State Lands, U.S. Border Patrol, Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service and Flathead County.
This is always a very interesting meeting, with reports from a range of government agencies and local organizations and often some quite vigorous discussion.
The Selkirks no longer have any mountain caribou on the U.S. side of the border . . .
The last mountain caribou to call the contiguous United States home made her exit from the wild, according to Science.
A team of biologists from British Columbia captured the female caribou in the Selkirk Mountains, just north of the United States-Canada border. They moved her to a captivity pen near the city of Revelstoke, where she will stay for at least a month, Science reports. It is believed that she is the only surviving member of the southernmost caribou herd, the final herd to spend its time on both sides of the border.
Canada’s caribou populations have been dwindling over the years as their habitats become increasingly threatened by those seeking the natural resources, including timber, gas, and oil, present there. Climate change has also been a major factor as it cripples food sources and creates irregular weather patterns, making it difficult for caribou to survive.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Biologist Tim Thier has had a distinguished career working with animals and birds in the western United States, but when he approached a impromptu checkpoint manned by Mexican Federal Police in Chihuahua while searching for grizzly bears nearly 40 years ago, he wasn’t sure how long, or if, that career would last.
Thier recently retired from the state agency, capping a 30-year career with it. But Thier’s career studying and working with wildlife dates back much further than that.
He first worked in Northwest Montana in 1976 with famed bear biologist Chuck Jonkel. Jonkel, who died nearly three years ago, was a pioneering bear biologist who spurred the careers of many who studied bears and other wildlife. Thier also worked with Chris Servheen of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the first grizzly bear recovery coordinator, who retired in 2016.
Reminder: There is a rally for public lands in Helena at noon on January 11. The following write-up is shamelessly stolen from an announcement sent out by Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana . . .
What are you doing next Friday, January 11, 2019?
I plan to be in Helena at the Public Land Rally organized to tell the Montana Legislature to keep public lands in public hands and protect Montanans’ public land heritage.
You may have noticed that public lands across the West have come under increased pressure (some would say assault) from private interests seeking energy, minerals, timber, or personal benefit from the nation’s public lands.
The Montana Legislature’s majority membership has a history of listening to and favoring those private interests, including efforts to transfer public lands to state ownership – for possible dispossession to private ownership.
The Legislature convenes for its biennial 90-day session on January 7. We think it’s appropriate for them to get an early message from citizens from across the great state of Montana to support public lands and all the social, economic, environmental, and spiritual sustenance that they provide.
Despite the government shutdown, U.S. Forest Service supervisors last week signed a new management plan for the Flathead National Forest, along with amendments that standardize grizzly bear management for the Lolo, Kootenai and Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forests.
The plan, more than five years in the making, covers aspects of forest management from timber harvest to wilderness areas to mountain biking. Forest Supervisor Chip Weber says the groundwork for the announcement was put into place before the government shut down, and represents the culmination of years of groundwork with a variety of groups, individuals and companies.
“It provides the sideboards for how the forest will be managed for the next 15 to 20 years.”
Here’s a good summary of the challenges facing grizzly recovery planning, by the inimitable Rob Chaney . . .
Was the bear that dug up earthworms on a Stevensville golf course last October a sign of the end or the beginning of grizzly recovery in Montana?
That question occupied everyone at last week’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) winter meeting in Missoula after a second attempt to delist grizzlies from Endangered Species Act collapsed in court. But the two-day gathering adjourned without revealing how to answer the court critique or how to deal with new grizzly issues. They range from how to fill grizzly-deprived places like the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to how to get more than a dozen state and federal agencies to share their bear conflict reports for analysis. That means continued participation from top agency decision-makers, who were in noticeably short supply at the Missoula meeting.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Department of Justice must decide by Dec. 21 whether to appeal the latest defeat of its Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem delisting. If the federal government doesn’t appeal, grizzly managers face several choices for the future. The direction they pick will say a lot about how the Endangered Species Act handles a high-maintenance animal like Ursus arctos horribilis.