Defenders In the News
Construction is slated to start this fall on a major overhaul of a small irrigation dam along the lower Yellowstone River to allow endangered pallid sturgeon to pass upstream more easily, officials said Wednesday. The completion of an environmental study on the project earlier this month means the $59 million project can proceed, said Brent Esplin, Bureau of Reclamation area manager for the Great Plains region.
Florida wildlife officials moved forward Wednesday with a proposal to allow black bear hunting for the first time in more than two decades. "The Florida black bear is a conservation success story in Florida," said Brian Yablonski, vice chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "They're moving toward us as we're moving toward them."
Warming temperatures and drier conditions could wipe out swaths of prime greater sage grouse habitat in southwest Wyoming, according to a new federal study that lists climate change as the top future threat to the survival of the imperiled bird.
Despite efforts by the state of Idaho and individual hunters to kill more wolves, the population remains well above the 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs required to keep gray wolves off the endangered species list under a federal 2009 delisting rule, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game reported.
The Obama administration on Friday finalized its recommendation to expand protected areas of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, calling on Congress to block about 12 million acres (5 million hectares) from oil and gas drilling. U.S. President Barack Obama, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner released by the White House, stood by his administration's earlier recommendation to preserve a wide swath of the state's Arctic refuge, setting up a likely battle with the Republican-led Congress over the oil-rich area.
Federal and state agencies in Washington state's rugged North Cascades are racing to save the iconic grizzly bear before the 600-pound behemoths disappear. Grizzlies that once numbered in the thousands from north-central Washington into British Columbia have dwindled to no more than 30 or so animals spread across the North Cascades ecosystem, 13,600 square miles in the United States and Canada.
A coalition of the oil and gas industry, mining groups and local governments in four states is formally challenging some of the core scientific documents the Interior Department is using to protect greater sage grouse habitat covering millions of acres of public lands across the West.
Alaska Rep. Don Young suggested recently (to many people's horror) that we should let wolves "solve" the homeless problem in a district of Alaska. The insensitivity of that comment aside, experts say the likelihood that wolves would attack people is simply far-fetched.
Opposing views of gray wolf recovery in Washington are on display in a Spokane-area battle of the billboards. The Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife advocacy group, has contracted for nine billboard posters that appeared this month. The message responds to a similar outdoor advertising campaign initiated in November by an anti-wolf group called Washington Residents Against Wolves.
Mark Salvo, director of federal lands conservation at Defenders for Wildlife, said in an email that the latest study "is additional evidence that land managers should require a full suite of science-based mitigation measures to offset impacts of energy development on sage grouse, and that development should be restricted in some areas if the species is to persist long-term."