MTPR

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Dead mountain whitefish in the Yellowstone River on August 24, 2016. Officials estimated that tens of thousands of fish have been killed by a rare parasite.
Eric Whitney

About 400 people came to the public meeting in Livingston last night about the fish kill that’s caused the closure of a 180-mile section of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of its tributaries, from the boundary of Yellowstone National Park downstream to Laurel.

About 400 people came to a hall at the Park County Fairgrounds in Livingston to learn more about the Yellowstone River fish kill
Eric Whitney

About 400 people turned out at the Park County Fairgrounds in Livingston last night to get the latest on the Yellowstone River fish kill from Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks department. 

FWP staff told the crowd that there’s still a lot they don’t know about how widespread the parasite is that’s killing mostly mountain whitefish in the Yellowstone River and its tributaries, but they’re working hard and expect to know more soon.

A fish-killing disease prompted the closure of 180 miles of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of tributaries in August 2016.
Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

In Livingston tonight, state wildlife officials are updating the public on the fish killing disease that's prompted them to close 180 miles of the Yellowstone River, and hundreds of miles of tributaries.

Trout Unlimited's Patrick Byorth will be at the meeting. Sitting beside a tributary of the Yellowstone in the Paradise Valley today, he says people are going to have a lot of questions.

The recent fish kill in the Yellowstone River is painting a picture of Montana in national headlines that’s a little different than what the state’s office of tourism advertises in promotional videos.
(PD)

Audio Pending...

The recent fish kill in the Yellowstone River is painting a picture of Montana in national headlines that’s a little different than what the state’s office of tourism advertises in this promotional video.

"Where the mountains thrust skyward and giant pyramids of granite and the rivers run as free and clear as your spirit. A place where you can hear the sound of silence."

After thousands of fish deaths forced an unprecedented closure of 180 miles of the Yellowstone River last week, an official with Montana's Office of Tourism says the state’s branding as a place of pristine landscape is still strong.

The Yellowstone River from Livingston, MT.
J. Stephen Conn (CC-BY-NC-2)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are conducting tests on fish from additional areas to see if they are infected with a disease blamed in a massive fish kill in the Yellowstone River.

State officials closed a 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone to all recreational activities on Friday. The unprecedented move came after thousands of fish were killed by a disease spread by a microscopic parasite.

Yellowstone River, MT
Wormwould (CC-BY-NC-2)

A microscopic parasite killing tens of thousands of fish forced state wildlife officials to close a portion of the Yellowstone River Friday morning.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed about 180 miles of the Yellowstone River downstream from Yellowstone National Park without a timeline for reopening. The closure could last months.

Man fishing in the Yellowstone River.
Flickr user: Mirrur Image (CC-BY-NC)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks this morning closed an approximately 180-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River, and nearby tributaries, due to what it’s calling an “unprecedented” fish kill.

The agency estimates that tens of thousands of fish have died this week from a parasite that causes kidney disease. Most of those are mountain whitefish, but there have been reports of dead rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Mountain whitefish.
(PD)

Montana wildlife officials are expanding their search for further signs of a massive fish kill in the Yellowstone River. Over 1,000 dead mountain whitefish have been counted so far.

Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread

Aug 10, 2016
Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread
PD

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are proposing to keep elk that have been exposed to disease from mingling with unexposed elk across a wide area north and west of Yellowstone National Park, though they acknowledge that plan has a high possibility of failure.

Managers in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have all said it's unlikely any grizzly hunting will be allowed in 2017.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission approved hunting guidelines for grizzly bears Wednesday in Helena.

Leaders of the state and federal agencies involved in managing grizzly bears are meeting in Missoula Tuesday and Wednesday.
(PD)

Montana wildlife officials have a difficult decision to make when and if they capture a grizzly bear that killed 38-year-old Brad Treat Wednesday near Glacier National Park. Do they euthanize the animal or relocate it?

Grizzly Bears Showing Up On Prairies North Of Great Falls

May 12, 2016
Grizzly Bears Showing Up On Prairies North Of Great Falls
Courtesy CSKT Natural Resources Department

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — State game wardens have been busy monitoring and hazing grizzly bears as they show up on the prairies east of the Rocky Mountain Front and north of Great Falls.

Montana Proposes To Triple Wolf Harvest Near Yellowstone

May 10, 2016
Wolf on the northern range of Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials want to triple the number of gray wolves hunters and trappers can kill in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park, citing complaints the predators are eating too many elk wanted by hunters and outfitters.

Rules Drafted For ProposeDraft map showing grizzly bear management units in Montana.d Grizzly Hunting Season
Courtesy Montana FWP

Draft rules for hunting grizzly bears in Montana were released Wednesday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Spokesman Ron Aasheim says the proposed rules are part of the bigger-picture effort to take Yellowstone area grizzlies off of the federal endangered species list.

Grizzly Bear Monitoring Project Continues In Glacier Park

Apr 28, 2016
A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) — A long-term program to monitor grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem continues this summer in Glacier National Park.

Moose Populations Waver In Parts Of Montana

Apr 22, 2016
According to Montana FWP, someone killed a moose near Bigfork and took the two hind quarters and the head, abandoning the rest.
(PD)

Moose populations in parts of Montana are struggling. That’s according to preliminary research.

For more than 100 years, state fish and wildlife agencies have accepted the job of managing wildlife, usually but not exclusively those which are hunted for meat or trapped for fur. Managing in concept involves assessing and improving habitat, monitoring populations, setting seasons and bag limits on animals that can be taken - in short, allowing harvest while maintaining a health population. So imagine: you're supposed to manage wolverines. Mission impossible? Our guests today, who work for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, talk about wolverines and the challenges around managing them.

Montana Legacy Project map showing the location of Nevada Lake WMA lands.
Courtesy MontanaFWP

Today The Nature Conservancy and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced a transfer of hundreds of acres of former industrial timber land near Lincoln into public management.

The Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area southeast of Helmville doubled in size with the land transfer.

Water from a treated sewage holding pond at Big Sky leaks into the Gallatin River, March 3, 2016.
Courtesy Explore Big Sky/Outlaw Partners

No more water is leaking from a treated sewage holding pond at Big Sky into the Gallatin River. At least 35 million gallons of the wastewater spilled into the river since last Thursday. The early phases of the investigation have revealed more questions than answers.

Water from a treated sewage holding pond at Big Sky leaks into the Gallatin River, March 3, 2016.
Courtesy Explore Big Sky/Outlaw Partners

State public health, environmental and wildlife officials are in Big Sky accessing the damage after the spill of millions of gallons of sewage water contaminated parts of the Gallatin River. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Kristi Ponozzo says the treated waste does not pose a risk to human health.

FWP: Feeding Wildlife Is Illegal And Dangerous

Jan 28, 2016
White-tailed deer.
(PD)

State and tribal Wildlife managers are reminding Montanans that the supplemental feeding of game animals is illegal on private and state land on the Flathead Reservation, as well as off the reservation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement.
(PD)

“Yes Mr. Chairman, I would move that the EQC (Environmental Quality Council) send a letter to the Interagency Bison Management partners objecting to the decision that was signed by Governor Bullock."

That's Republican State Representative and Environmental Quality Council member Kerry White of Bozeman. White Thursday urged his fellow committee members to oppose a plan that would allow some wild bison from Yellowstone National Park to wander year-round outside park boundaries. White says it’s a recipe for trouble.

Bison at the Stephens Creek Capture facility north of Yellowstone Park in 2015.
Jim Peaco (PD)

Federal, state and tribal officials have agreed to kill as many as 600 to 900 Yellowstone National Park bison this year.

Public Domain
Federal Highway Administration / Federal Highway Administration

A freight train plowed into a herd of elk just outside of East Helena late Wednesday night, killing at least 23 animals.


   Montana Rail Link called state game wardens to the scene early Thursday morning, where as many as 30 elk lay dead. The wardens said they were told the east-bound train was believed to be traveling at 60 mph when it collided with the animals near Spokane Creek Road. 

More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

Grizzly bear managers are meeting in Missoula this week. One thing they’ll be talking about is a bear that made a historic migration across in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem this year. 

Grizzly bear
Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (PD)

Three grizzly bears died on northwest Montana highways last week. As bears search for food before bunking down for the winter, wildlife officials caution drivers to watch out for bears feasting on roadkill.

Conservation groups seek extension of wolf monitoring program
(PD)

Trappers in Montana won’t be able to get certified online to trap wolves, at least for now. The state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks department has proposed ending the in-person classes it now requires wolf trappers to pass, and going to online classes to save money.

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the shooting death of a male grizzly bear west of Whitefish.
PD

A grizzly bear in Stillwater County had to be shot after it killed a herd of cows. Wildlife officials say bears are becoming more active as they search for food before hibernation. The bear was responsible for a dozen cattle deaths in the Fishtail and Fiddler Creek area since mid August. It was killed by U.S. Wildlife Services officials late last week.

The new counting model uses hunter sightings to help map areas occupied by wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CC-BY-2)

Montana officials are seeking permission to offer a wolf trapping course online after seeing class participation decline over the last two years. The safety and education course is a requirement for anybody who wants to trap a wolf in the state. Once they pass, certification is good for life.

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