The Bitterroot ecosystem will get a new new grizzly management plan, officials say
Federal wildlife managers have outlined a plan to reassess management of grizzly bears in southwest Montana and central Idaho. The plan follows a court order last month.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will create a plan over the next three and a half years to help grizzlies recolonize in the Bitterroot ecosystem and reduce conflicts between bears and humans in the area.
A federal court ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to reevaluate its management of grizzlies in the region after environmental groups argued the agency lacked a plan to protect bears that traveled to the Bitterroot. The environmental groups said that prevented bears from re-establishing a population in the ecosystem.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did create a management plan for bears in the region two decades ago when the ecosystem had no known resident grizzlies, but never formalized that plan.
The Fish and Wildlife Service told the court it would craft a new plan from scratch, “because of the change in circumstances arising from individual bears dispersing within the Bitterroot Ecosystem with greater regularity.”