Rocky Mountain Gray Wolves Removed from Endangered Species List
Last week, Congress attached a rider to their budget that delisted the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains from the Endangered Species List. This is the first time Congress has ever made a species-specific decision -- this sets a terrible precedent of politics undermining sound science when it comes to wildlife management.
Wild Lands Policy Targeted by Congressional Rider
In addition to the wolf delisting, last week’s budget also included a rider to restrict funding for implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Lands policy.
This policy, as formalized in Secretarial Order 3310, overturned the harmful Bush era 'No More Wilderness' policy and restored the longstanding administrative authority to identify and protect millions of acres of public lands with wilderness qualities. We will work hard to ensure that this funding is restored for the next fiscal year.
More Room to Roam for Yellowstone Bison
Last week a new, historic agreement was signed between federal and state agencies and Tribes allowing Yellowstone bison more room to roam (75,000 acres) outside of Yellowstone National Park in the winter and spring. For years thousands of bison have been hazed, corralled and/or shot at the Park boundary and often shipped to slaughter, when they attempt to leave the Park in search of food in the winter at lower elevations. This year alone over 650 bison tried to leave the Park due to very heavy snowfall. Though more work needs to be done, this agreement is a very important step in increasing bison tolerance and range in the state of Montana.
Read the text [PDF] of the agreement and a map of the area.
Florida Seeks to Launch a Conservation Blueprint
On April 20, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) held the first in a series of meetings with a broad group of stakeholders to launch a regional project in southwest Florida to create a cooperative conservation blueprint. FWC will use as it's starting point the recommendations and maps from Babcock Ranch wildlife corridor study authored by noted Florida conservation biologists Reed Noss and Tom Hoctor and the Babcock Ranch steering committee recommendations which were co-drafted and endorsed by the Sierra Club. The project will be funded by federal funds provided to the State of Florida for its State Action Plan.
Beluga Whale Gets Critical Habitat in Alaska
Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated over 3,000 square miles in the Cook Inlet near Anchorage as critical habitat for the beluga whale. Cook Inlet belugas are a highly endangered and distinct population. Federal managers first listed the whale as endangered in 2008 and current estimates put its population at fewer than 350 individuals.
On April 20, the Sierra Club appealed a federal judge's ruling that failed to require Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the Florida panther.
Read more [PDF] about this decision.