Montana Public Radio

Delisting Plans Move Forward For NCDE Grizzlies

Nov 30, 2017

Government wildlife managers expect to release a new draft conservation strategy for grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park soon.

At the fall gathering of grizzly researchers and managers in Missoula yesterday they said to expect it to be published in the Federal Register in the next couple of weeks.

The conservation strategy is a key component that has to be in place before bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) can be removed from the endangered species list. Most grizzly biologists working for federal agencies believe the population is stable enough for delisting.

Mike Jarnevic with Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force says his group will take a close look and skeptical look at the conservation strategy when it’s released.

"We aren’t biologists, but it doesn’t take a biologist to look at this stuff and say, ‘well, you’re forgetting this, and you’re forgetting this, and what about this?’ Jarnevic said.

In 2007 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attempted to remove Yellowstone-area bears from the endangered species list, the federal courts stopped them, saying the agency failed to consider the decline of key grizzly food sources. When the USFWS again issued a delisting rule for Yellowstone-area bears in June of 2017, two environmental groups filed lawsuits to block the move the same day, arguing that the bears would suffer under state management.