Idaho Fish and Game Department

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.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The federal official who oversees the Salmon-Challis National Forest says Idaho Fish and Game’s unapproved collaring of four wolves in a wilderness area last week is a “big deal.”

Dan Stahler / Yellowstone National Park Flickr

Idaho Fish and Game collared four wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness earlier this month. The action was unauthorized by the Forest Service, the agency that oversees the area.

Mike Keckler with Fish and Game says the issue comes down to a communication problem. One of the crews assigned to put tracking collars on elk in the wilderness area also collared four wolves. Keckler says they do that under normal operations, but in this case the agency had a specific agreement with the Forest Service to only collar elk.

Bob Dodson

Earlier this year, we told you the story of Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in the late 1940’s. Back then, the idea was to trap problem beavers, put them in special boxes and parachute them from a plane. They were sent to remote areas where they could find a new home.

Idaho Fish and Game

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of beavers parachuting into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The story spread like wildfire, complete with pictures of the beavers, tucked inside their travel boxes, parachuting into their new homes.

It turns out there’s more to this story.

Alan Krakauer / Flickr

Idaho Fish and Game says it will allow hunters to shoot sage grouse next month, despite a multi-state effort to boost the bird’s numbers.

Chris Willey / Flickr Creative Commons

The migration of sockeye salmon from the ocean to inland parts of the Northwest has been deadly this year. Hotter than normal temperatures early in the summer warmed up low-flowing rivers, and more than a quarter million sockeye are dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

But Idaho Fish and Game biologist Mike Peterson says the conditions are allowing scientists to observe just how resilient salmon can be in warmer water.

Sarah H. / Flickr Creative Commons

After sustained temperatures over 100 degrees last week, the shallow water and lack of oxygen in west Boise's Redwood Pond caused bass, bluegill and other species to die. At its deepest point, the pond is only about 14 feet.

Wildlife officials are investigating after residents reported a large number of dead songbirds in Kuna, a city about 18 miles southwest of Boise.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the dead birds show no signs of physical injury and were not sickened by plague.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional conservation educator Evin Oneale says the cause of death appears to be a specific type of pathogen that has yet to be determined.

Grizzly, wildlife, grizzlies, endangered species list
Jason Bechtel / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-four grizzly bears have been captured so far this year in and around Yellowstone National Park as wildlife managers start another season of research toward a potential lifting of federal protections.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team captured the grizzlies in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and outside the parks in Montana and Wyoming.

Teams are now starting to trap grizzlies in eastern Idaho.

The estimated grizzly population in the 19,000-square-mile Yellowstone ecosystem is 757 bears.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr

Idaho Fish and Game officers say one of two fawns that were left motherless after a recent poaching has died.

KTVB-TV reports that twin fawns were orphaned when a pronghorn antelope doe was shot and left to waste last week. One fawn had been shot through both rear legs. The injured fawn died.

Conservation Officer Greg Milner says the animals likely were shot May 31 or June 1 just north of the Danskin Power Plant near Mountain Home in southwest Idaho. The area is frequently used by recreational shooters.

Bob / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials have released a draft management plan to bolster a struggling species once considered the most abundant upland game bird in the Pacific Northwest.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse occupies less than 5 percent of its historic range in the U.S., with 60 percent of the remaining population in Idaho.

The agency also filed a request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add 20,000 acres to a program that in Idaho pays farmers to convert fields into sharp-tailed grouse habitat.

USAF Airman Shane Phipps

Idaho health officials say ground squirrels south of Boise have tested positive for plague. They say humans and pets should avoid the area.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a statement Friday says the bacterial disease can be spread by the bites of fleas or by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets.

“We have investigated reported mortalities of ground squirrels in the area southeast of Boise during May,” State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew said.

Debs / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Fish and Game Department says the number of wolves in the state has reached its highest level since 2010, following a corresponding decline in wolves killed by hunters and trappers.

The department's data shows the state's wolf population grew by 13 percent last year. Roughly 770 wolves currently live in Idaho, according to the data released Friday — well above the minimum of 150 wolves that keeps the animal off the federal endangered species list.

Meanwhile, hunters and trappers killed roughly 250 wolves last year — down by almost 100 from the previous year.

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