New endangered species approach to help manatees?

WASHINGTON – A proposal to give Idaho and Montana more authority to manage gray wolf populations in their states has the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) encouraged that a similar approach would be beneficial to manatee populations, NMMA said in a recent statement.

“This is a very encouraging development,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government affairs. “It is critical that we allow states a larger role in developing regulations to protect endangered species.

“Other species, such as Florida’s manatee population, would greatly benefit from similar proposals. We are hopeful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will recognize other state management plans and apply these initiatives to other endangered species.”

The FWS has proposed giving Idaho and Montana more authority to manage gray wolf populations in their states, consistent with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The plan would allow the states to monitor gray wolf populations for a period of five years to ensure their viability.

Landowners would be allowed to take additional steps to protect their livestock and pets from attacks by problem wolves, and the state would be able to issue permits to allow landowners to control wolves that consistently pose a threat to domestic animals.

“Wolf populations now far exceed their recovery goals under the [ESA] in the northern Rocky Mountains, and Idaho and Montana have crafted responsible wolf management plans in their states,” Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said while announcing the proposal March 3.

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