The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the Canada lynx as threatened with extinction in the Continental United States. It has also reduced its critical habitat.
The Canada lynx is one of the few native cats in North America. Its habitat is specific to thick boreal forests that accumulate deep snow and are home to the lynx’s favorite food, snowshoe hare. It has enormous paws that it uses to traverse deep snow and elude predators with smaller feet.
With winds and low precipitation causing fire danger to escalate in rangelands around the state, the Bureau of Land Management is keeping a close eye on sage grouse habitat. Senior Resource Advisor Pam Murdock says they’re working hard to control the fires.
"I know that there are a few going on currently," she says. "We have one, I was just informed of yesterday, that did get ignited over the weekend that was in sage grouse core area up in the Bighorn Basin."
She says it isn't easy juggling conflicting priorities.
The clock is ticking about whether to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species. Such a listing could all but shut down mineral development in the bird’s habitat. The state has already tackled sage grouse protections. Now it’s the federal government’s turn. It’s been 30 years since the Lander Resource Management Plan was revised. And so the Bureau of Land Management took the opportunity to put more protections in place for the grouse while they were at it.
The Lander Resource Management Plan is hundreds of pages and covers a lot of ground.
When energy development happens on public lands, companies have to reclaim the land. That means restoring the landscape after it’s been disturbed. But exactly what’s required varies from one part of the state to another. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that agencies are making those rules more consistent, in hopes of helping keep sage grouse off the endangered species list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report that’s meant to help states figure out how to protect sage grouse and keep them off the endangered species list.
Bob Budd with the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust helped put the report together. He says the document provides information about the key threats to sage grouse, but leaves it up to states to develop or revise their conservation plans.
Various ecological groups in the Rocky Mountain region have joined together to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to list the boreal toad as endangered.
Once populating much of the coniferous forests of the Western United States, the boreal toad’s numbers have plummeted in the last two decades. Currently, the amphibian is only found in 1% of its original breeding area in the Southern Rockies.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering a new incentive to get farmers and ranchers to protectcertain species – including sage grouse – on their properties.
Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman says they want ranchers to do things like shifting their grazing patterns, in order to preserve sage grouse habitat. If a rancher signs on, he or she would get certain protections, if sage grouse end up on the Endangered Species List.