MTPR

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Turmoil Shakes Up Agency In Charge Of Vast US Lands

Feb 20, 2018
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Nicky Ouellet

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees.

The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

Federal wildlife officials have agreed to prepare a conservation plan for Montana's National Bison Range as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will prepare what’s called a comprehensive conservation plan, or CCP, for the Bison Range by 2023.

Canada lynx.
(PD)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Canada lynx may have recovered to the point where it could be delisted as a threatened species.

The elusive cat was listed as threatened nearly 20 years ago. But since then, Jennifer Strickland with the Fish and Wildlife Service says the federal government has done a good job of protecting and expanding lynx-friendly habitat.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
(PD)

The Northern Cheyenne tribe joined a coalition of environmental groups Monday in requesting a federal judge reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear.

The animal was delisted last summer, but the coalition says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent reopening of public comment of that delisting is evidence the government didn’t finish its homework before removing protections.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

Federal officials say they'll review the recent lifting of protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in light of a court ruling that retained protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that it is seeking public comment on the court ruling given the possible implications for an estimated 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

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