The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted today to adopt a rule to ready the state to manage grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if they’re removed from the endangered species list.
That rule sets mortality thresholds for grizzlies, which mean the state will manage for a total population of at least roughly 1,000 bears in part of an area known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, home to the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48. It also says the state will monitor connectivity of bears between ecosystems.
The commission passed the rule unanimously, and it only takes effect if and when NCDE grizzlies are removed from the endangered species list. The timeline for that appears delayed following a federal judge’s ruling in September overturning the delisting of grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park.
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a group of federal, tribal, and state wildlife managers, are also meeting in Missoula this week to discuss the state rule, legal challenges to delisting, and other issues affecting all six designated grizzly ecosystems in the lower 48.
The meeting is open to the public starting at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday and 8:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown. View the agenda here.
To comment on the state rule and view the state responses to public comment: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?coversheet&topicId=45537067 http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?coversheet&topicId=45585317