This article really should have been longer; there’s a lot to think about here. Still, it’s worth reading . . .
Grizzly bears continue to expand their range amid an ongoing effort to turn over management of the bears from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, a federal official said.
“We’ve seen an 11 percent change in increasing range in just a couple of years,” Frank van Manen, head scientist of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, said last week at a meeting in Jackson.
Since coming under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, grizzlies have steadily expanded their habitat outward from the population’s core in Yellowstone National Park.
Montana gets ready to dish out funding for sage grouse habitat improvement . . .
A Montana panel overseeing a sage grouse conservation plan finalized guidelines on Friday for awarding $10 million in grants to help boost habitat for the imperiled bird.
Meanwhile, state officials have completed evaluating the bulk of 112 projects proposed within prime habitat for the sage grouse, as part of the ongoing implementation of an executive order issued by Gov. Steve Bullock in September.
“I am very happy to report that we are under way,” said Carolyn Sime, a resource program manager for the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
The USDA is kicking off a number of forest restoration project this year. There’s nothing major in this neighborhood, apparently, but that may change in subsequent years . . .
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday it will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.
Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said.
With longer fire seasons in recent years burning more areas, and beetle outbreaks devastating more than 40 million acres of forests in the West, the pace and scale of restoration need to be increased, he said.