BILLINGS, Mont. -

The U.S. government will decide if federal protections are needed for a small, fanged predator of the Northern Rockies, massive alligator snapping turtles in the South and seven other species.
   
Deadlines for the decisions to be made over the next several years were detailed in a Tuesday legal settlement.
   
The Center for Biological Diversity had sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March after officials missed previous decision deadlines, sometimes by years.
   
One of the first species to be decided on, by October 2017, is the Northern Rockies fisher.
   
The cat-sized predator once ranged across at least five states. It's now limited to an area along the Montana-Idaho border.
   
A decision on the alligator snapping turtle, which can weigh up to 175 pounds, is due in 2020.