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

  • Man is charged with flying drones to bring drugs from Mexico

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- A 25-year-old U.S. citizen has been charged with using a drone to smuggle more than 13 pounds (6.1 kilograms) of methamphetamine from Mexico by drone, an unusually large seizure for what is still a novel technique to bring illegal drugs into the United States, authorities said Friday. Source
  • Eclipse to have big impact on California power grid

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- When the moon passes in front of the sun during Monday's eclipse California will lose enough solar energy to power more than 1.5 million homes, a figure that underscores the state's growing reliance on energy from the sun. Source
  • Asian carp found near Lake Michigan got past barriers

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Officials say an Asian carp found in a Chicago waterway this summer apparently got past an electric barrier system intended to prevent the invasive fish from reaching the Great Lakes. The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee says an autopsy shows the 4-year-old male silver carp originated in the Illinois/Middle Mississippi watershed. Source
  • Demand for eclipse glasses outpaces supply

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Ali Van Orman is still looking for specialized glasses to protect her family's eyes during Monday's solar eclipse because she never counted on demand totally eclipsing supply. She tried to buy a coveted pair of solar eclipse glasses for herself and two children from Amazon back in July, but the hot commodities wouldn't have arrived in time. Source
  • Reduced speeds for right whales prompts surcharge for Oceanex Montreal-St. John's route

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Due to new rules brought in by the federal government in an attempt to protect an unusual number of endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Oceanex has introduced a temporary surcharge for vessel operations between St. Source
  • NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellites

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA launched the last of its longtime tracking and communication satellites on Friday, a vital link to astronauts in orbit as well as the Hubble Space Telescope. The end of the era came with a morning liftoff of TDRS-M, the 13th satellite in the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network. Source
  • NASA marking 40 years since Voyager spacecraft launches

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Forty years after blasting off, Earth's most distant ambassadors -- the twin Voyager spacecraft -- are carrying sounds and music of our planet ever deeper into the cosmos. Think of them as messages in bottles meant for anyone -- or anything -- out there. Source
  • Digital vigilantism after Charlottesville: Get ready for more naming and shaming

    Tech & Science CBC News
    In many ways, last weekend's rally in Charlottesville, Va., was a chilling throwback to an era most people had hoped we'd moved on from, one in which racists were emboldened to march in the streets, denouncing the lives and rights of others through violence and angry chants, yelling, "White lives matter" and "Jews will not replace us. Source
  • Solar eclipse myth-busting: Facts and fiction behind nature's stunning event

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Have you heard that it's safe to look at an eclipse through sunglasses? Or that radiation during one could be dangerous for unborn children? Don't believe it. Solar eclipses aren't your run-of-the-mill event: while they occur about once every 18 months, the same location may not experience one for many years. Source
  • Hundreds of birds injured by kites on Indian independence day

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW DELHI - The annual tradition of flying kites over the Indian capital on Independence Day takes a painful toll on birds that fall victim to their razor-sharp strings. Workers at the Charity Birds Hospital see it happen every year - mostly to pigeons but also to crows, eagles and parrots. Source