Here’s the text of a letter sent yesterday by the North Fork Preservation Association to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding wolf management. See also yesterday’s alert regarding the situation…
Dear Montana Fish and Wildlife Commissioners:
The mission of the North Fork Preservation Association is to champion stewardship of the natural resources and protect the exceptional biodiversity of the North Fork of the Flathead River. We live simply in the North Fork, off the grid, make concessions for our wild neighbors, and, best of all, the ecosystem contains a full complement of wildlife, which also forms the foundation for our thriving recreation-based economy. Wolves and grizzly bears roam freely through our public (96%) and private (4%) lands here in relative harmony with the human residents. Sustainable population levels of ungulates have coexisted with wolves, bears, and other carnivores for a very long time here.
We were dismayed to see our 2021 Legislature pass many new bills that undermine the role of the FWP wildlife biologists and managers who make their professional decisions based on the best science available. These new bills are not based on science but rather on emotions, especially the bills regarding wolves. We are asking the Commission to maintain the pre-legislature status quo and avoid the significant, detrimental changes to wolf management. We support FWP’s professional management processes, and we hope that the Commission will continue to support FWP by taking a long, hard look at the newly proposed options and select those options for wolf management that preserve FWP’s ability to professionally manage them—Option 1, Limited New Tools.
While we understand that the Legislature indicated that it wants a smaller wolf population in Montana, each region should be evaluated on its own merits by the professional managers at FWP. We hope that a reasonable status quo harvest throughout Montana and our 2-wolf quota in the North Fork will be upheld by the Commission. Please support “Option 1—Limited New Tools” for management of wolves.
Thank you for your consideration.
Flannery Coats, President
For the NFPA Board of Directors
Public hearings scheduled in Kalispell, Missoula, Great Falls, Conrad
The Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved language for a proposed administrative rule that would codify population objectives for grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE).
The decision on August 9, 2018 sets into motion a public comment period that will run from Aug. 24 through Oct. 26. Public hearings will be held in Kalispell, Missoula, Great Falls, and Conrad. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff will explain and answer questions about the proposed population objectives at the hearings and take public comment.
The population objective is for NCDE, which is one of six designated recovery areas for grizzly bears in the lower-48 states. Grizzly bears in the NCDE are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, although they have met their recovery criteria and may be proposed for delisting in the future.
The NCDE subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) released a revised conservation strategy for grizzly bears (found here) earlier this summer. This document summarizes the commitments and coordinated efforts made by the state, tribal and federal agencies to manage and monitor the grizzly bear population and its habitat upon delisting.
Montana FWP wants to tighten trapping rules near national parks to protect Canada Lynx . . .
Montana wildlife officials are considering stricter regulations in an effort to reduce the chances of Canada lynx being caught in traps set for other animals outside Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.
The plan presented to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday is part of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed in 2013 by three environmental groups over trapping in the threatened species’ habitat.
Several of the settlement’s statewide restrictions are already in place, but additional changes are needed in special zones near Yellowstone National Park and a wider area outside Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks attorney Aimee Fausser said.
The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act continues to gain state-level endorsements . . .
Montana fish and wildlife commissioners are endorsing federal legislation to expand protections along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission passed a resolution Thursday supporting the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act.
The bill would add more than 67,000 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and grants less-restrictive protections to another 208,000 acres. It also calls for a plan to eradicate noxious weeds in the area.