Tag Archives: greater Yellowstone ecosystem

Feds move to block new mining claims near Yellowstone

The U.S. Department of the Interior responded to community objections over gold mining activity in the Yellowstone area . . .

The seats were full, and there wasn’t much room to stand. About 100 people — locals, environmental groups, political staffers and government officials — stuffed a conference room at Chico Hot Springs here on Monday to hear what they all considered good news.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was here to announce that the Obama administration would temporarily block new mining claims on about 30,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land north of Yellowstone National Park, near where two mining companies have asked the state for permission to look for gold on private land.

“We’ve all heard what you’ve told us, which is Yellowstone is more valuable than gold,” Jewell said as the room burst into applause.

Read more . . .

See also: U.S. Moves to Block Mining Near Yellowstone (Flathead Beacon)

Officials move a step closer to delisting Yellowstone grizzlies

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs - NPS photo
Grizzly bear sow with three cubs – NPS photo

Members of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted to approve a conservation strategy allowing for delisting of the grizzly bear in the region including Yellowstone Park. The vote was not quite unanimous, with the superintendent of Yellowstone Park voting against it and Leander Watson of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe abstaining . . .

Wildlife officials have moved one step closer to removing the Yellowstone grizzly population from the Endangered Species Act by approving a future conservation strategy.

The Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted to approve the conservation strategy, sending it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of what has been a months-long process to potentially remove the Yellowstone grizzly from federal protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting the federal protections for the Yellowstone bears in March. Grizzly bears were first listed as threatened in 1975 when the Yellowstone population was estimated to have as few as 136 bears. Recent estimates say the population is now above 700.

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Officials to discuss grizzly delisting

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Yet another meeting to discuss removing Yellowstone area grizzlies from the Endangered Species List . . .

State and federal wildlife managers are considering removing Endangered Species Act protections from grizzly bears living in Yellowstone National Park.

Officials are meeting in Cody on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss post-delisting management plans. The member agencies of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee had hoped to approve a final draft of the post-delisting management plant, but officials say it’s unclear that will happen.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting the federal protections for the Yellowstone bears in March. Grizzly bears were first listed as threatened in 1975 when the Yellowstone population was estimated to have as few as 136 bears. Recent estimates say the population has now climbed above 700.

Read more . . .

‘Detection dogs’ used to study habitat suitability for bears

Camas the detection dog

Sometimes science is a bit… quirky. This is also a pretty interesting read . . .

A recently released study from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) details a new method using “detection dogs,” genetic analysis, and scientific models to assess habitat suitability for bears in an area linking the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to the northern U.S. Rockies.

The method, according to the authors, offers an effective, non-invasive approach to the collection of data that could play a vital role in the further recovery of grizzly bears during the coming decades.

“The use of detection dogs allowed us to quantify and map key areas of habitat for black bears in the Centennial Mountains located along the Idaho-Montana border west of Yellowstone National Park,” said Jon Beckmann, WCS Scientist and lead author of the study. “Black bears are a proxy species useful for predicting likely grizzly bear habitat. With recovery, a larger grizzly bear population needs room to roam and to reconnect with other populations. The Centennial Mountains region of the U.S. northern Rockies can provide room and safe linkages— critical to connecting the bear population in the GYE area to others further north and west”.

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As Yellowstone grizzly population rises, so does death toll

Cinca - 5 May 2015

More grizzlies got into trouble in the Yellowstone area this year, but that is sort of a good thing . . .

The number of grizzly bear deaths or removals in the Yellowstone region climbed to an all-time high in 2015, but biologists say they’re not worried about the animal’s long-term survival in the area.

The known or suspected deaths of 55 bears shouldn’t interfere with plans to remove the region’s grizzlies from protection under the Endangered Species Act, Frank van Manen, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, said Wednesday.

“This year should be considered within the context of what we’ve seen in terms of the long-term trend,” van Manen said.

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Feds aim to maintain current Greater Yellowstone grizzly numbers

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs

Federal wildlife managers edge closer to delisting the grizzly bear . . .

Wildlife managers will seek to maintain grizzly bear numbers in the three-state Yellowstone region near current levels as they move toward lifting protections for the threatened species, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The agency has set a management goal of 674 grizzly bears across the 19,300-square-mile region. That’s enough of the animals to “ensure a sustainable and resilient population,” spokeswoman Serena Baker said.

The population target is consistent with the average number of bears between 2002 and 2014. But it’s about 6 percent below the most recent tally of 714 bears at the end of 2014.

Read more . . .

Also read: Grizzly counting methods face scrutiny as delisting decision nears

Experts mull path towards grizzly delisting

Again, a lot of discussion of a shift from grizzly bear recovery to grizzly bear management . . .

Top grizzly bear experts from Montana, U.S. and Canadian governments descended on Many Glacier Hotel last week to discuss the future of grizzly bear populations throughout the Northwest, including in and around Glacier National Park.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, created in 1983 to oversee recovery of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, is considering removing the protected status under the Endangered Species Act of two bear populations: those in the Northern Continental Divide and Yellowstone ecosystems.

Grizzlies were one of the first high-profile listings under the 1973 law, listed as a “threatened” species in 1975 after being extirpated from the vast majority of their historical range.

“The animals are leading the way — they’re recovering themselves, along with a lot of our help…”

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Genetic research gives insight into Greater Yellowstone foxes

Here’s some interesting research about foxes which, I was surprised to learn, are relatively recent arrivals on this continent . . .

Blame the snow and cold.

Thanks to nasty winters, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including the Beartooth Mountains, have become a genetic island for Rocky Mountain red foxes.

That’s one of the findings from research that Patrick Cross conducted over two years while spending finger-numbing winter days in the Beartooth Mountains trapping the native high-elevation foxes. Cross, a University of Montana graduate student in systems ecology, was working with the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center. For his research, Cross had hypothesized that the foxes may be genetically different from those found in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Instead, he found that the two populations are related.

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Delisting of Yellowstone region grizzlies moves forward

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a little closer to removing grizzly bears from the endangered list in the Yellowstone area . . .

Work to remove grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem from federal endangered species protection is moving forward.

That’s what Chris Servheen, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s grizzly bear recovery coordinator, told members of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee in Jackson, Wyo., this week.

A new rule removing the bears from the endangered species list could be finished by the end of the year.

Read more . . .

Southwest Montana grizzly bear management plan approved

According to a recent press release, Montana FWP now has a plan in place for managing grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem if/when the bears are removed from the endangered species list . . .

As more than 700 grizzly bears begin to emerge from winter dens in southwestern Montana, state wildlife officials say a recently updated conservation plan shows Montana is well prepared to take over management of the federally threatened species.

The plan, approved by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission in February, was developed over the past year in conjunction with a programmatic environmental impact statement. The update addresses state management options once the Greater Yellowstone Area’s more than 700 grizzly bears are removed from the federal list of threatened species.

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Further reading: The management plan is available online at fwp.mt.gov. Click “SW MT Grizzly Bear Management Plan.”