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The Forest Service’s newly released revised draft sage-grouse plan amendment for the Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada and California drew cautious praise from conservation organizations. The amendment is intended to improve sage-grouse habitat on public lands administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Mono Basin region along the California-Nevada border. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the genetically unique Mono Basin, or “Bi-State,” sage-grouse as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act as the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of greater sage-grouse. A final listing decision is due by April 28, 2015.
Four key populations of scalloped hammerhead sharks were listed today under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the first time in history a shark species has received federal protections under the ESA. The scalloped hammerhead shark is a highly imperiled species and is considered globally endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is killed primarily for its fins but is also killed as “by-catch” in fisheries targeting other species.
The Department of the Interior released a report on its plans to work with state, local and tribal interests to conserve bison in the American West.
The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it has finalized the Resource Management Plan for the Lander Field Office in Wyoming (Lander plan), the first of fifteen plans developed as part of the agency’s National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy, a range-wide effort to update land-use plans with new measures to conserve sage-grouse. While the Lander plan (one of four federal plans to be completed in Wyoming) recognizes the importance of conserving core habitat areas and provides some protections for sage-grouse, it also includes key management prescriptions that fail to meet scientific standards to protect sage-grouse from future development and support the species long term recovery needs.
The decline in funding for wildlife refuges is threatening the economies of local communities that rely on the recreation dollars they provide.
Three conservation groups filed a legal challenge today over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to adequately protect thousands of imperiled lesser prairie chickens from being killed or harmed by oil and gas drilling, grazing and other human activities. Although the bird’s population declined an estimated 50 percent last year, in April the Service designated the bird as “threatened” rather than “endangered,” a distinction that allowed the agency to authorize ongoing “incidental take” of prairie chickens under a series of unproven, voluntary conservation agreements.
Members of the Natural and Working Lands Coalition commended the final state budget deal reached by the Legislature and Administration on cap-and-trade investments as a promising start to advancing natural resource solutions to climate change. The final budget deal includes nearly $100 million in investments in natural resources, including forests, agriculture, wetlands and urban forestry, to remove carbon pollution from the air and reduce potent greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and methane.
The fate of wolves across most of the continental United States remains uncertain one year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) proposed to delist wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At each step of the delisting process, including written comments, public hearings, testimony and discrediting review from a panel of expert scientists, the Service's delisting proposal has been called into question for being shortsighted, premature and based upon bad science. Final action on the Service’s proposal is expected later this year or early next year.
Animal protection and wildlife conservation groups, along with individual hunters and sportsmen, have petitioned the Department of the Interior to require the use of non-lead ammunition when discharging a firearm on the more than 160 million acres of federal lands managed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Each year, an estimated 10 to 20 million birds and other animals die from lead poisoning, either by ingesting lead shot or fragments directly or by feeding on lead-contaminated prey.
Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted to establish state protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act after delaying the decision at an April hearing. Wolves have historically thrived in the California and with recent discussions by scientists and stakeholders about the imminent return of gray wolves to the Golden State, the commission has taken advance steps to protect the endangered species within state boundaries. The decision comes on the same day that wildlife biologists have confirmed that a new wolf pack is forming in Oregon near the California border.