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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gov. Bullock Names Appointees For New Grizzly Bear Council

Closeup of a grizzly bear
Grizzly bear

Gov. Steve Bullock Friday named the 18 members of his new grizzly bear management council. The appointees are roughly equal parts ranchers and conservation policy advocates.

Bullock selected his the council out of more than 150 applicants. The 18 he appointed include representatives from the Montana Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Sunlight Ranch Company, Stock’s Mountain View Dairy, and Stoltze Land and Lumber Company, among others.

The group also includes a tribal member from Browning and an animal scientist from Montana State University.

Bullock is giving the council a year to send him a report with recommendations on managing grizzlies as the bear’s population increases in the rocky mountains and expands into the eastern plains. In March, Bullock sent a memo to the head of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks setting plans for the council in motion. 

“We’ve got grizzly bears that are expanding into places they haven’t been in decades, if not longer," Dillon Tabish, with FWP, said.  "We are constantly dealing with management and conflict decisions on a regular basis. And so we really want to make sure we’re not assuming; we’re doing what Montanans want us to, we need to listen to Montanans the best we can and make sure we’re following their interests while also conserving these bears.”

In his executive order Bullock says the long-term coexistence of people and grizzly bears across the landscape will remain a challenge.

Last year 47 grizzlies were killed in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, and officials recorded 71 mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes bear deaths and removals to other locations. FWP says that’s a record for deaths and removals in both areas. 

Membership includes:

Bret Barney, Wyola. Qualification: Livestock producer. Barney is the Range Detective and Wildlife Manager for Sunlight Ranch Company.

Chad Bauer, Missoula. Qualification: Outdoor industry professional. Bauer is Municipal Market Manager for Republic Services.

Darrin Boss, Havre. Qualification: Hunter. Boss is the Department Head for the Department of Research Centers for Montana State University.

Jonathan Bowler, Condon. Qualification: Conservation group. Bowler is the Education Director for the Swan Valley Connections.

Trina Jo Bradley, Valier. Qualification: Livestock producer. Bradley is a Rancher in Pondera County.

Caroline Byrd, Bozeman. Qualification: Conservation group. Byrd is the Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Michele Dieterich, Hamilton. Qualification: Wildlife enthusiast. Dieterich is a Teacher.

Erin Edge, Missoula. Qualification: Conservation group. Edge is a Representative for the Rockies and Plains Program for the Defenders of Wildlife.

Nick Gevock, Helena. Qualification: Conservation organization. Gevock is the Conservation Director for the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Lorents Grosfield, Big Timber. Qualification: Livestock producer. Grosfield is an Owner/Operator of a Family Cattle Ranch in Sweet Grass County.

Kameron Kelsey, Gallatin Gateway. Qualification: Livestock producer. Kelsey is a rancher in Gallatin County.

Robyn King, Troy. Qualification: Conservation group. King is the Executive Director of the Yaak Valley Forest Council.

Kristen Lime, Browning. Qualification: Tribal member. Lime is a Rancher and Pre-College Advisor for Montana Educational Talen Search.

Cole Mannix, Helena. Qualification: Conservation organization. Mannix is the Associate Director of Western Landowners Alliance and is a Rancher in Lewis and Clark County.

Heath Martinell, Dell. Qualification: Livestock producer. Martinell is Rancher in Beaverhead County.

Chuck Roady, Columbia Falls. Qualification: Community leader. Roady is the Vice President and General Manager for F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company.

Gregory Schock, Saint Ignatius. Qualification: Livestock producer. Schock is the Owner of Schock’s Mission View Dairy.

Anne Schuschke, East Glacier. Qualification: Outdoor industry professional. Schuschke is a Substitute Teacher and Expedition Leader for Natural Habitat Adventures.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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