Idaho Fish and Game Department

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials have approved an Idaho wildlife conservation plan to avoid potential listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on a state plan that identified 205 Idaho species of concern. Grizzlies, salmon and sage grouse were all on the list, as well as monarch butterflies. Wildlife officials are working on taking Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List.

Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game crews are feeding 4,000 elk in eastern Idaho this winter, after a fire burned 22,000 acres of their winter range.

The fire hit the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Bonneville County last year. Without grass, forbs and brush, elk and deer now have nothing to eat. Fish and Game worried they would travel to private property 13 miles away and start eating haystacks and spilling into towns.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Elk and deer continue to struggle this winter and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is adding 27 more feeding sites for the animals.

That brings the number of feed sites around the Southeast Region to 89.

There are 16 elk sites feeding 2,780 animals. There are 71 deer sites, feeding 8,731 of the animals. And two pronghorn sites are getting feed to 215 animals. The sites are in 12 Idaho counties.

Troy Maben / AP Images

The harsh winter across much of Idaho has caused problems for some big game. Wildlife officials have begun emergency feeding for vulnerable species.

The unusually cold and snowy winter in southern Idaho has forced some animals to lower elevations in search of food. Idaho Fish and Game officials say winter feeding is necessary to help some big game get through the tough season, especially mule deer. The practice also helps deter the wildlife from highways and private property.

Creative Commons Courtesy: @thekevinchang

Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are once again preparing to push a plan to raise hunting and fishing fees, despite previous resistance from state lawmakers who have refused to advance similar proposals.

Director Virgil Moore announced earlier this week that his department has had to cut services because of a drop in funding. The agency relies on revenue from licenses, tags and permits to cover operational costs and does not receive general state tax dollars. However, those fees haven't increased in roughly 12 years.

Idaho Fish & Game Headquarters Office Sign
Dan Greenwood / Boise State Public Radio

Online sales of hunting and fishing licenses resumed Tuesday following a three-month shutdown due to a computer breach at the vendor that handles those sales, Idaho officials announced.

Idaho Fish and Game officials said additional security features include requiring online buyers to create an account with a password.

Dallas-based Active Network reported a computer breach in late August with the possibility that millions of records in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, including Social Security numbers, might have been compromised.

Idaho Fish & Game Headquarters Office Sign Director
Dan Greenwood / Boise State Public Radio

Fourteen former Idaho Fish and Game commissioners are asking legislative leaders to replace the head of the state's Senate Resources and Environment Committee.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the commissioners sent a letter Thursday asking that Sen. Steve Bair, a Republican from Blackfoot, no longer chair the senate committee.

The commissioners wrote that their request was prompted over a dispute over reappointment of commissioners, as well as after seeing efforts to change how controlled hunting permits are allocated.

Charles Peterson / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Fish and Game officials are in Lewiston today discussing the biggest wildlife issues in the state.

The seven-person fish and game commission has a lot on their agenda, including the review of public input on a proposal for the state to take over management of Yellowstone grizzlies.

Mike Gabelmann / Flickr Creative Commons

Three of four wolves fitted with tracking collars in a central Idaho wilderness area last year by state officials without federal approval are surviving as another winter approaches.

State officials say the surviving wolves from three different packs are still roaming the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Officials say an adult female died in May due to unknown causes.

Jim Peaco | Yellowstone National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

A central Oregon man who put poison on a deer carcass in a central Idaho wilderness leading to the death of a wolf and a dog has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and ordered to pay $10,000 to reimburse the state for investigative costs.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that Tim Clemens of Hines, Oregon, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of poisoning animals and one count of unlawful take of big game.

Jason Bechtel / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting endangered species status for grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park. But before that happens, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana each need to come up with plans for how they would manage the population – including rules for hunting the predators.

A public meeting will be held this week in Boise on the potential for a grizzly bear hunting season in Idaho.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game researchers are testing a new method of fish population control. The idea is to use a female hormone that causes male-born fish to produce eggs when they mature.

By using a hormonal treatment on the fish, the biologists hope to create a monosex trout population that will eventually be unable to breed, which could keep unwanted fish populations at bay in streams around the state.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Barber Dam in east Boise lost power one night in February of 2015. Once offline, the flow of water through the hydroelectic plant stopped – causing the river to run dry for about eight hours.

Krista Muller / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Last week’s Table Rock fire burned about 2,500 acres in Boise’s foothills. Although the fire only destroyed one human home, animals that live there will likely go elsewhere until the landscape can be restored.

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist Krista Muller says Table Rock will not bounce back in just a couple of years.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Over a period of several days in mid-March, 335 geese were found dead at Mud Lake and Market Lake Wildlife Areas in eastern Idaho. If this story sounds familiar – that’s because it is.

gray wolf, wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

According to Idaho Fish and Game biologists, 786 wolves roamed the state in 2015. That compares to 770 the year before. The agency calls the dispersal of the animals a success, and points out the numbers remain above the minimum required by the state and federal government.

 

USGS

Just ten miles from downtown Boise, scientists are studying golden eagle migration in southwest Idaho. And they’re using roadkill to do it.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Boise State University and Idaho Fish and Game created a series of motion-sensitive camera traps. They drag a 250-pound road-killed elk through the snow to the trap and leave. The cameras do the work, snapping pictures of whatever scavenger comes by for a snack.

Dave Siddoway / Flickr Creative Commons

More than a dozen elk have died this winter in the Wood River Valley. Biologists think the animals have eaten ornamental yew, a non-native shrub some people have planted in their yards. The bright green plants can be shaped into those intricate topiaries you see in English or Japanese gardens.

The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday issued a notice of non-compliance to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after the state agency violated an agreement by using a helicopter in a central Idaho wilderness to put tracking collars on wolves.

The two-page notice includes additional requirements the state must follow when seeking approval for future landings in wilderness areas.

The Forest Service on Jan. 6 approved Fish and Game's request to use helicopters in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to put collars on elk.

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.

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