Endangered Species Act

EarthFix

An agriculture group says the cost of saving salmon in the Northwest’s largest river system is unsustainable. Now, the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association is turning to the Trump administration to try and sidestep endangered species laws.


Sara Simmonds / Idaho Fish and Game

The first two sockeye salmon to make it home from the Pacific Ocean in 2017 have arrived in the Stanley Basin. It’s a rough year for the fish.

Cathleen Allison / AP Photo

Congressional Republicans are moving forward with legislation to roll back the Endangered Species Act, amid complaints that the landmark 44-year-old law hinders drilling, logging and other activities.

At simultaneous hearings Wednesday, House and Senate committees considered bills to revise the law and limit lengthy and costly litigation associated with it.

Jackie Johnston / AP Images

A debate about four Washington state dams has put the spotlight back on a longstanding story about salmon. The Idaho Statesman has begun a series about the endangered species, which asks whether destroying the dams will be enough to save the fish. Frankie Barnhill sat down with Statesman reporter Rocky Barker to learn more about what’s at stake.
 

Jim Urquhart / AP Photo

Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Cathleen Allison / AP Photo

A new study of sage grouse in Eastern Washington found a surprisingly large benefit from a federal program that subsidizes farmers to plant year-round grasses and native shrubs instead of crops.

The study concluded that is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington's Columbia River Basin.

"Without these lands, our models predict that we would lose about two thirds of the species' habitat, and that the sage grouse would go extinct in two of three sub-populations," said Andrew Shirk of the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group.

sage grouse, in flight, birds
Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Gov. "C.L" Butch Otter says he plans to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the Interior Department in 2015. The dismissed lawsuit alleges the department violated federal environmental rules when it withdrew almost four million acres of land in Idaho for conservation of the greater sage grouse.

Jim Urquhart / AP Photo

Federal officials are delaying their decision on whether to lift protections for more than 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park and allow hunting, amid opposition from dozens of American Indian tribes and conservation groups.

Officials had planned to finalize the proposal to turn jurisdiction on grizzlies over to state officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by the end of 2016.

sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

The rules would affect sage grouse habitat on federal land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Salmon
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

In May, a federal judge ordered dam operators in the Northwest to put all options back on the table to save endangered salmon. That means giving a close look at four dams on the lower Snake River. Now, Boiseans will have the chance to weigh in on the proposal.

The debate over the best way to protect salmon has been caught in court battles for the last 20 years.

Latham Jenkins / Flickr Creative Commons

The Western Governors’ Association held a meeting in Boise Tuesday about the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The nonpartisan group brought together stakeholders from all ends of the natural resources spectrum.

One of the big topics at the day-long workshop was how science is used – or could be misused – to make endangered species decisions. Richard Valdez was a panelist at the conference. He is an adviser for an environmental planning firm based in Arizona.

carfull / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite the landmark decision not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) last year, there are still lingering questions for many people around the west. A big one? Whether the ESA itself should be reformed.

Jim Jacobson

Scientists are paying close attention to the ways in which climate change may be impacting wildlife. In Idaho, one of the mammals dealing with the effects of changing conditions are American pikas. 

Pikas are related to rabbits and live in Rocky Mountains states. The curious animals, which have a distinctive call, can be spotted in places like the Sawtooths. They also hang out in the recesses of the Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Well, for now at least.

Justin Barrett

Last week, the federal government decided not to place three species found in Idaho on the Endangered Species List. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they did not warrant listing because of successes made in conservation.

Along with the southern Idaho ground squirrel, the Goose Creek milkvetch and the Great Basin population of the Columbia Spotted Frog, 14 other species around the country were also turned down for listing.