Montana Grizzly Bears Win Big In Court – Habitat Protected!

Earthjustice Grizzly Bear News

October 9, 2015

Missoula, MT —

Montana’s federal district court approved and adopted a settlement agreement today between conservationists and state officials that ensures long-term protection for more than 22,000 acres of important grizzly bear habitat on state forest lands near Whitefish, Montana.

The settlement represents an agreement between the conservation groups Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council, represented by Earthjustice, with officials from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (“DNRC”) concerning management of grizzly bear habitat on the 90,500-acre Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests in northwest Montana. The settlement resolves a lawsuit that the conservation groups filed in March 2013 to challenge a government proposal to reduce grizzly bear habitat protections on the state forest lands.

Under the settlement, DNRC will designate seven grizzly bear security zones encompassing 22,007 acres within which:

• Motorized activities will be prohibited during spring, summer, and fall periods when grizzlies are actively using the landscape;

• No permanent road construction will be allowed; and

• Any temporary roads must be reclaimed to prevent use by vehicles, including off-road vehicles.

“This agreement ensures protection for the last, best grizzly bear habitat remaining on state lands in Montana,” said Earthjustice Attorney Timothy Preso, who represented the groups in negotiating the agreement.

“The agreement promises grizzly conservation for decades,” added Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan. “Even if the area’s grizzlies are someday removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act, these protective measures will endure because they will be incorporated into the conservation strategy for long-term grizzly management.”

“The protected lands provide connectivity to neighboring national forest lands to maintain an unbroken habitat link for bears that move out from Glacier National Park,”said Kyla Maki of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Matt Skoglund of the Natural Resources Defense Council added, “Under this agreement, the protected grizzly bear security zones include important habitat areas such as avalanche chutes where grizzly bears forage for the natural foods they need to survive.  Multiple generations of grizzlies will benefit from being able to utilize these habitat areas without disturbance.”

View the settlement agreement and the Court’s order.

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2015/court-ruling-secures-important-grizzly-bear-habitat

grizzly cub and mom

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 Top Photo: Courtesy Earthjustice

Bottom photo: grizzly bear wallpaper

Posted in: grizzly bears

Tags: grizzly habitat protected, 22,000 acres, Montana, Earthjustice

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Published in: on October 14, 2015 at 11:28 am  Comments (9)  
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Judge Molloy Will Hear Oral Arguments, Tuesday June 15, on Wolf Delisting Lawsuit

The day is finally here wolf advocates. Judge Molloy will hear from both sides of the wolf delisting lawsuit on Tuesday, June 15, at the federal courthouse in Missoula, Montana. Earthjustice will be representing wolves and the thirteen environmental groups who sued the USFWS for removing gray wolves protections.

The outcome of this litigation will literally determine the course of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies. Wolves have been under assault in Idaho and Montana since they were delisted in the Spring of 2009. Wolf adovcates have endured a year of unspeakable sadness as we watched wolves slaughtered in two wolf hunts, while they continued to be killed by Wildlife Services, for agribusiness.

It has been worse then I ever imagined it would be.  What is VERY worrisome is Montana FWP  recently declared they still want to hold a wolf hunt, even if Judge Molloy relists wolves. They are trying to find a way to circumvent ESA, in my opinion. Their plan is to allow private hunters to kill wolves for agribusiness, instead of Wildlife Services agents. This is completely wrong and should be addressed immediately.  Why would they do this? Apparently there are people who do not want to be denied a chance to kill a wolf and the state wants to accomodate them. It turns out this is really all about trophy hunting.  Not livestock or tapeworms or Canadian wolves but blood sport. 

I hope it won’t be a circus at the federal courthouse on Tuesday, with the anti-wolf crowd spouting off stupidisms (to borrow one of my friend’s words). It would be great if wolf advocates were there to show  support for wolves. If you can’t make it then you’ll be there in spirit.

Here’s to restoring  ESA protections for the Northern Rockies gray wolf. May they have a little peace in 2010 and beyond.

I don’t think Judge Molloy will rule from the bench, so his decision will probably come some time in late summer.

Photo: Courtesy Kewl Wallpapers

Posted in: Wolf Delisting Lawsuit, Montana wolves, endangered species act,  Howling For Justice

Tags: Judge Molloy, ESA, gray wolves, Earthjustice

Oral Arguments On Wolf Delisting Lawsuit Set For June 15

This is great news!!  Oral arguments are set to be heard by Judge Molloy on Tuesday, June 15 @ 9am, Federal Courthouse in Missoula, Montana. (Russell Smith Courthouse)

Finally some movement on this important litigation. Anti-wolf rhetoric has rachteted up 100% as we’ve sat through the worst year for wolves in the Northern Rockies since their reintroduction. Over 500 wolves have died due to the hunts and Wildlife Services killing them for agribusiness.

Judge Molloy denied the injuction to stop the wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana but stated the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the overall lawsuit to return the wolves ESA protection.

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Judge sets date to hear wolf-lawsuit arguments

By EVE BYRON Independent Record | Posted: Monday, April 26, 2010 1:49 pm

http://helenair.com/news/article_f07b2da8-516d-11df-bec0-001cc4c002e0.html

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Posted in: wolf 2009 delisting, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: wolf delisting lawsuit, Judge Molloy, Earthjustice

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm  Comments (10)  
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