endangered species

Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

The plight of greater sage grouse is at the top of mind for ranchers, conservationists and politicians across the West — so much so that one ranch in southeastern Oregon has put a wildlife biologist on its payroll.

Sage Grouse Development Rules Passed in Oregon

Jul 29, 2015
CREDIT PACIFIC SOUTHWEST REGION U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Oregon is one step closer to putting together a plan to protect greater sage grouse. The state passed new rules Monday to help guide large scale development near important habitat in Eastern Oregon. The turkey-sized bird is uniting ranchers and conservationists in an effort to keep it off the Endangered Species List.

Historically, sage grouse spanned 11 western states. Good habitat throughout those states has become greatly fragmented by things like invasive weeds, wildfire, encroaching juniper trees and development.

Idaho's Snake River sockeye were nearly wiped out in the 1990s. But now these salmon are on their way back. Officials released a new recovery plan Monday.

At one point, the sockeye run returning to spawn in Idaho's Redfish Lake was down to just one fish. They called him Lonesome Larry.

The species was listed as endangered, and a captive breeding program was designed to rebuild the population.

Tom Flagg is a manager with NOAA Fisheries. He says that program has paid off. Last year, more than 1,500 sockeye returned.

BLM Proposes Sage Grouse Protection Plans

May 28, 2015
Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

The BLM is proposing actions like improving habitat, managing fire more carefully, and preventing habitat fragmentation.

Dan Morse is with the Oregon Natural Desert Association. He's pleased that the plan calls for protections for two of the state’s most important habitat strongholds.

“Our hope is that those protections will be meaningful. That being said we cannot only focus on those large areas. Because disconnecting sage grouse populations is a sure recipe for their extirpation,” says Morse.

Rob Manning / OPB

The Northwest’s most iconic bird could get a conservation boost in the coming years.  

On Wednesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing it will review the protection status of the Northern Spotted Owl. The result could be an endangered species listing. 

Yellowstone National Park

Would you like to see more grizzly bears in Washington’s North Cascades? That’s what the federal government is asking during informational meetings across the state. A plan is in the works to consider adding more grizzlies to Washington’s dwindling population.

Okanogan is a small town nestled in the foothills of Washington’s North Cascade mountains. It’s surrounded by rangeland, apple orchards, and hiking trails. Ranches and homesteads butt up to the Okanogan National Forest and other public lands.

Idaho biologists say the number of wolves is likely declining, but their count of breeding pairs of wolves -- a key number used to measure the health of the state’s wolf population -- has actually gone up.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

Captain Chad Naugle / ODOC

In a growing number of Northwest prisons, inmates are rearing endangered plants, butterflies, turtles and frogs for release in the wild.

EarthFix

Orca enthusiasts rejoiced when a newborn calf was spotted seven weeks ago. But as of this morning the endangered killer whale calf has not been seen.

L120 was the first calf born in the past two years. Over the weekend, the calf’s mother was spotted three times, without her baby. Orca experts believe the calf is dead, though no carcass has been found and it's unclear how it died.

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