Montana to decide whether to relocate sage grouse to Alberta

HELENA, Mont. - Montana officials are set to decide Thursday whether to relocate dozens of sage grouse to the Canadian province of Alberta, a plan opposed by some lawmakers who say the state should look to bolster its own fragile population first.

See Full Article

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on a recommendation by the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency to send 40 greater sage grouse to Alberta this year, followed by 40 more in 2018 and 2020. Canadian officials requested the relocation to aid in the recovery of its population, which is at about 120 of the chicken-sized birds.

The Montana sage grouse would come from populations in Valley and Phillips counties that have rebounded this year. Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency director Jeff Hagener said there are an estimated 10,000 sage grouse in the area and removing the initial 40 hens would have an "insignificant impact."

The program would be evaluated each year to determine if Montana's sage grouse population is healthy enough to proceed with future relocations, Hagener said.

Last year, federal officials announced restrictions on 67 million acres of public lands in 11 states, including Montana, to protect the bird's habitat and prevent it from becoming a threatened or endangered species. Montana is taking its own measures to protect sage grouse habitat on state lands and to give incentives to keep landowners from damaging the bird's habitat.

Several Montana lawmakers oppose the relocation plan because of the politics that have surrounded protecting the bird at the expense of economic development. The state Environmental Quality Council on Thursday sent a letter to Fish, Wildlife and Parks requesting a three-year block on moving the birds out of the country.

Instead, a relocation program should take place within the state, from areas where there are an abundance of sage grouse to those where there are few, said Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte.

Others on the council suggested that the sage grouse could be moved to the border, but kept in Montana. The birds could then fly to the Canadian side or stay on the Montana side.

"Then nobody has their feathers up," said Sen. Gene Vuckovich, D-Anaconda.

The Alberta government's study identifies specific leks, or breeding grounds, where the birds would be taken. The relocation would be supplemented by researching the Canadian and U.S. populations with the goal of increasing their connectivity with genetically similar populations in Montana.

A previous relocation of 41 sage grouse was done in 2011 and 2012. Thirteen of the females in that group initiated nests and only two nests resulted in hatchlings, while a number of the birds were killed by predators.

Officials on both sides of the border said the pilot program showed the Montana birds could integrate with the Alberta population.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • U.S. lawmakers vote to allow internet providers to sell customers' browsing data

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The House voted Tuesday to block online privacy regulations issued during the final months of the Obama administration, a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers. Source
  • Supermassive black holes give birth to stars, astronomers discover

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of astrophysicists has discovered that supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies aren't just destroyers of stars, but can also be their creators. Stellar black holes form from the collapse of a large star. Source
  • Fake toons: Kids falling prey to adult parodies of popular children's shows

    Tech & Science CTV News
    YouTube has a fake toons problem. Parent groups are sounding the alarm after thousands of seemingly kid-friendly YouTube videos were found to contain violent and sexual content, in cartoons made to look like shows such as "Peppa Pig" and "Doc McStuffins. Source
  • Carleton University students, staff urged to change passwords after key-logging devices found

    Tech & Science CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Carleton University is urging caution among staff and students after discovering potential hacking tools on a handful of classroom computers. The university says it discovered USB key-logging devices on six classroom computers across three university buildings. Source
  • Thai jungle seen as breeding ground for Indochinese tigers

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BANGKOK -- Conservationists say they have evidence that the critically endangered Indochinese tiger is breeding in a Thai jungle, giving hope for the survival of an animal whose total population may be less than 300. Source
  • Apple iOS update creates instant storage space

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Time to load up on HD movies and games. Apple device owners may find they suddenly have a lot more storage space for music, videos, photos and apps, thanks to an iOS update that improves the way data is processed and stored on all Apple devices. Source
  • Trump issues executive order rolling back Obama climate change policies

    Tech & Science CBC News
    President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. Source
  • Trump to issue executive order rolling back Obama climate change policies

    Tech & Science CBC News
    President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. Source
  • 'It's devastating': Documentary reveals 'streams' of water pollution from jean industry

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Those jeans you pull on before running out to the corner store were produced by one of the most toxic industries on the planet, according to a new documentary that explores how clothing manufacturers are poisoning the world's water supply. Source
  • Got camera? Facebook adds more Snapchat-like features

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Facebook is adding more Snapchat-like features to its app. The company says it wants to let people's cameras "do the talking" as more people are posting photos and videos instead of blocks of text. Source