EcoWatch

Grizzly 679 lumbers through snow-covered sagebrush in 2017. The International Association for Bear Research and Management will host a bear conservation conference in September in Kalispell, Montana. The last time the conference was held in Kalispell was over 40 years ago.

Bear conservation conference coming

A conference is being planned in the Northern Rockies that will explore bear conservation issues in a changing world.

The International Association for Bear Research and Management is organizing the conference, its 27th annual, which is scheduled for September in Kalispell, Montana.

Learn more about “Conserving Bears in a Changing World” and register at IBA2020MT.com.

Grazing comments due

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has released a draft environmental assessment reauthorizing livestock grazing in the Sweetwater, Blucher Creek and East Squaw Creek cattle and horse allotments.

Comments on the plans are being accepted again because of a court settlement, and there will be another opportunity to object when the U.S. Forest Service issues its draft decision.

The allotments are in Sublette and Fremont counties along the southwest edge of the Wind River Range.

The Pinedale Ranger District is proposing to continue to authorize 593 cow-calf pairs on the three allotments. The season of use would generally occur between July 10 and Oct. 1.

The draft environmental assessment is available at TinyURL.com/grazingauthorization19.

Direct questions to Dave Booth at 307-367-4326.

Comments are due Monday.

Aspen regeneration plan

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is planning a big forest burning and thinning project intended to regenerate Ashton, Idaho-area aspen stands that are aging out and disappearing.

An action that’s now on the table and in the scoping stage calls for logging and thinning approximately 10,000 acres of the Caribou-Targhee in the Ashton and Island Park, Idaho, areas.

Another 39,000 or so acres would be subject to prescribed fire, with the goal of eliminating conifers that are outcompeting aspen.

Work could start as early as July 2020 and would kick off on a 20,371-acre area on the west side of the Middle Henrys Fork watershed.

A goal of the project is to restore aspen closer to their historic condition.

On the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District a century ago there were about 35,000 acres of aspens. By 1991 the acreage was down to 7,615 acres, a 79% decline.

Caribou-Targhee foresters have set a measurable monitoring goal of 500 to 1,000 aspen stems per acre that are at least 6 feet tall within five years of treatments.

The Caribou-Targhee is fielding comments on its plans for 30 days from the date of a notice published in the Idaho Falls Post Register.

CWD comments still open

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is accepting public comments on its revised management plan for chronic wasting disease.

The draft plan includes input from the Game and Fish-appointed CWD Working Group and the public. The plan is available for public review online through Jan. 15.

A meeting in Laramie was recorded and posted online.

You can review the plan and submit comments online through the CWD Feedback portal at WGFD.Wyo.gov/get-involved/cwd-working-group.

The final plan will be released in February and presented to the Game and Fish Commission for review and approval in the spring of 2020.

Game and Fish Commission meets

The governor-appointed commission that oversees Wyoming’s wildlife will meet next on Jan. 15 and 16 in Cheyenne.

Agenda items include black bear hunting seasons, translocation of Wyoming sage grouse to North Dakota and another translocation project that would move pygmy rabbits to Washington state.

See the agenda and stream the meeting online by going to WGFD.wyo.gov/about-us/game-and-fish-commission.

— Mike Koshmrl

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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