Endangered Mexican gray wolves could be introduced to Utah

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M. Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah, where ranchers and elected officials are fiercely resisting any attempt to import the predators. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)
A Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, NM.
Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican
gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah.
(Associated Press)

The Federal government proposed to release a subspecies of wolf in southern Utah and Colorado. This has raised concerns among local ranchers and the Utah Farm Bureau.

Conversely, wildlife advocates are fighting to introduce the Mexican gray wolf into Utah. The Mexican wolf is a threatened species found in the Southwest region of the United States. There are only 110 species left in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has surveyed the region along southern Utah and believes the habitat is suitable for the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves.

Kirk Robinson, executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, expressed his concerns about the Mexican wolf not being discussed during the legislative season.

"Nobody is talking about reintroducing the Mexican wolf," Robinson said. "Our government officials are really upset about this. They don't want Mexican wolves or any other wolves for that matter. That is why there is such a big conflict."

Robinson shed some light as to why southern Utah needs a wolf population.

ESA Grants Awarded to Conserve Species

usfws logoAmerica’s Rarest Species Receive $44.8 Million Investment Under Endangered Species Act Grants Program:  California will receive $15 million in funding to help collaborative efforts to conserve imperiled species

In addition to providing regulatory protections that have successfully prevented the extinction of hundreds of species, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) also provides millions of dollars in funding each year for conservation efforts through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF). This year, threatened and endangered species in 20 states will benefit from $44.8 million in grants from the fund; California will receive over $15 million. Authorized under Section 6 of the ESA, the CESCF enables states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to develop projects that protect federally-listed species and their habitats.

ESA Reform Need Demonstrated

house nrBishop: Obama Administration’s Final Species Petition Regulations Demonstrate Need for ESA Reform 

Washington, D.C. (Sept 26, 2016) – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced final revisions to regulations governing the petition process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

ESA Roundup – Listing Decisions and Recovery Actions

usfws logoThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced notable changes in its recovery strategy for the red wolf.

  • On September 7, 2016, USFWS reopened the comment period for its proposed rule to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened species. The initial proposed rule emphasized that the States of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho needed to promulgate regulations managing human-caused mortality of grizzly bears before USFWS would proceed to a final rule, and such state mechanisms have recently been finalized.

FWS Announces Draft Methodology for ESA Status Reviews

USFWS LogoProcess will ensure species in greatest need are addressed first, provide predictability and transparency and foster stakeholder engagement

January 14, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a draft methodology to better identify and prioritize pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) “status reviews,” the process by which the Service determines whether a species that has been petitioned for listing warrants ESA protection. The methodology will assist the Service and its partners in addressing America’s most imperiled wildlife and plant species first, while reinforcing collaboration between the Service and its partners and maximizing transparency throughout the decision-making process. 

Lesser Prairie-Chicken De-listed

usfws logoU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Removes Lesser Prairie-Chicken from List of Threatened and Endangered Species in Accordance with Court Order; Agency will continue working with stakeholders on conservation efforts benefitting lesser prairie-chicken, landowners and local economies

July 19, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today fulfilled a court ruling that had vacated its Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision, by officially removing the lesser prairie-chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

This administrative action and the decision not to appeal the court’s ruling do not constitute a biological determination on whether or not the lesser prairie-chicken warrants federal protection. The Service is undertaking a thorough re-evaluation of the bird’s status and the threats it faces using the best available scientific information to determine anew whether listing under the ESA is warranted.

Mexican Wolf Draft Revised Recovery Plan Released for Public Comment

mexican wolfALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft revision to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The plan guides Mexican wolf recovery efforts by the bureau and its partners, with the ultimate goal of removing this wolf subspecies from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and returning management to the appropriate states and tribes. The Service is now seeking public input and peer review on the draft revised plan through a public comment period and series of public meetings. The comment period will remain open through August 29, 2017.

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update - Dec 2015

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly UpdateDecember 1-31, 2015 - The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), and New Mexico.  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup.  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

Natural Resources Committee Passes Caucus’ Endangered Species Act Modernization Bills Through Committee

esa-passed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus released statements regarding this week’s full committee hearing and markup on the Caucus’ bipartisan Endangered Species Act modernization package in the House Natural Resources Committee, during which four of those bills passed the Committee:

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01): “These bills honor our heritage, lighten regulatory burdens for communities, increase transparency, and strengthen relationships between states and the federal government. Ultimately, these bills aim to bolster our country’s natural resources. I’d like to thank the Western Caucus and my colleagues for helping to move these bills forward.” 

Nevada Rancher: Helping Sage-Grouse Helps Us All

Sage GrouseAUSTIN, Nev. - Private landowners and conservationists in Nevada and several other Western states continue to work together to try to prevent the sage-grouse from being listed as an endangered species.

Duane Coombs, manager of the 250,000-acre Smith Creek Ranch near Austin, Nevada, is among those working to improve sage-grouse habitat on the public and private lands he ranches.

New methods to address ESA status reviews released

Process will ensure species in greatest need are identified and addressed first, provide greater transparency and foster stakeholder engagement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final methodology for improving the way it identifies and prioritizes pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) status reviews, the scientifically rigorous process the agency uses to determine whether a species warrants federal protection. The new approach will allow the Service to be more strategic in how it addresses pending status reviews, to be more transparent in how it establishes workload priorities, and to work better with partners to conserve America’s most imperiled plants and wildlife.

Opportunities for Voluntary Conservation Efforts Under Endangered Species Act

usfws logoRevisions to policy implementing Candidate Conservation program improve process for working with states, tribes and private landowners

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and NOAA Fisheries today finalized revisions to the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) policy under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Candidate Conservation program is emblematic of the flexibility of the ESA and how the law can be used to engage partners in conserving and protecting imperiled species before they are listed as threatened or endangered. In particular, CCAAs provide a mechanism that encourages non-federal landowners to implement specific conservation measures for at-risk wildlife. In return, they receive assurances that they will not be required to undertake any additional conservation measures or be subject to additional resource use or land use restrictions, even if subsequent information indicates that additional or revised conservation measures are needed for the species or if the species is ultimately listed under federal protection.

Public Comment Period for Fisher Listing Announced

pacific-fisherU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List West Coast Population of Fisher as Threatened Under Endangered Species Act
 
YREKA, Calif., (Oct 6, 2014) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced it is seeking information from the scientific community, the public and interested stakeholders on its proposal to protect the West Coast population of fisher as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Rare, Tiny Shorebird Nests on Los Angeles County Beaches for First Time in Nearly 70 Years

The first nest was found on April 18 on Santa Monica State Beach, followed by discovery of a nest on Dockweiler State Beach on April 27, and two nests on Malibu Lagoon State Beach on April 28 and May 4. The nests were discovered by monitors with Los Angeles Audubon and The Bay Foundation. Following their discovery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologists installed small wire cages around each nest to protect the eggs from predators and human disturbance.

“This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback, and we really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young,” said senior fish and wildlife biologist Chris Dellith with the Service’s Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “I’m hopeful that we can find a balance between beach recreation and habitat restoration, which will allow humans and shorebirds like the western snowy plover to peacefully exist along our coastline.”

Revised Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook Available

usfws logoThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services), announce the availability of the final revised Habitat Conservation Planning (HCP) Handbook, which describes requirements, procedures, and guidance for permit issuance and conservation plan development for incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of the newly revised joint HCP Handbook is to instruct the Services on how to assist applicants to develop HCPs in an efficient and effective manner, while ensuring adequate conservation of listed species. Although the Handbook is designed for the Services, it also can be useful to other HCP practitioners, such as applicants, consultants, and partners.

Sage Grouse Conservation: The Proven Successful Approach

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/maps.php)The Department of the Interior is engaged in what it describes as “the largest and most complex landscape-scale land management planning effort in US history—and the most ambitious conservation experiment under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]." The object of this extraordinary attention is the greater sage grouse, a large ground-dwelling bird that inhabits 165 million acres in 11 western states.

The Interior Department has a September 30, 2015 deadline to decide whether to propose listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

grizzly bear yellowstoneOn June 22, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will delist the Yellowstone population of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).  According to the Service, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Distinct Population Segment (Yellowstone DPS) of the grizzly bear has recovered to the point that federal protections are no longer necessary and overall management of the species can be returned to the states and tribes.

The Yellowstone DPS consists of grizzlies in portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho.  The Service estimates that the population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to approximately 700 today. The Yellowstone DPS now occupies more than 22,500 square miles, more than double its range from the mid-1970s. 

USFWS creates ESA listing workplan

Service Creates ESA Listing Workplan to Provide Predictability and Encourage Proactive Conservation of Imperiled Wildlife

September 7, 2016 - As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provide the best possible conservation for our nation’s imperiled wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released today its National Listing Workplan for addressing ESA listing and critical habitat decisions over the next seven years.

This announcement comes as Service biologists wrap up work on a previous list of more than 250 species that had been identified as candidates for protection under the ESA. This new workplan will allow the Service to meet its current and future ESA obligations while creating opportunity for partnerships aimed at delivering conservation on the ground to keep working lands working, protect local ways of life and reduce regulatory burdens, saving the ESA’s protection for the species that need it most.

USFWS updates peer review guidance

Updated Scientific Peer Review Guidance Ensures Rigor, Transparency, Consistency in Endangered Species Act Decisions

September 7, 2016 - Science forms the cornerstone of all decisions made under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and independent peer reviewers are critical in confirming that science is appropriately gathered, reviewed and interpreted. To ensure that its peer review process is as rigorous, transparent and consistent as possible, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has updated its policy guidance for conducting such scientific peer reviews on listing and recovery actions.

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