FWP taking initiative to restore the historic biodiversity found in central Montana

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Photo by Eric Clewis. An American marten searches for bait at a camera station in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This station was set up as part of an effort to map occupancy and distribution of this species on the landscape.

MWF is strongly supportive of the proposed reintroduction of American martens (M. americana or M. caurina) to the Little Belts Mountains of central Montana. With the previous extirpation of this species from island mountain ranges across the west, it is imperative that we take the necessary actions to restore martens to their
historic range. This action directly follows the objective to “increase species diversity and facilitate marten range expansion back into the mountains of central Montana” as stated by the Fish & Wildlife Commission in 2014.

As stated in the draft environmental assessment (EA), there is significant quality marten habitat found throughout the Little Belt Mountains as well as adjacent mountain ranges. However, this species is notoriously poor at dispersing across unsuitable habitat, and therefore it is unlikely natural recolonization will occur. Thankfully there is a precedent for success in translocation and reintroduction attempts, such as this effort, as seen in other successful marten reintroductions in similar mountain ranges. We at MWF would like to thank
Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) for following the examples set in similar reintroductions across the west when developing the procedures in this draft EA.

MWF commends FWP for taking the initiative to restore the historic biodiversity found in central Montana. Thank you for the opportunity to comment and voice support for this project. If you have any questions, please contact Eric Clewis, our Western Montana Field Coordinator, at (832) 444-6976 or eclewis@mtwf.org.

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Alec Underwood

Federal Conservation Campaigns Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.