MTPR

Bitterroot Ecosystem

Grizzly bear stock photo.
iStock

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently changed how federal agencies will apply rules within the Endangered Species Act. The move raises questions about protections for established grizzly bear populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. MTPR's Aaron Bolton explains what the rules mean for uninhabited grizzly ecosystems, like the Bitterroot National Forest.

A bear warning sign.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

A grizzly bear was detected in the Bitterroot National Forest about 15 miles west of Stevensville last week, according to a Montana FWP press release. Although there's no resident population of grizzlies in the Bitterroot, bear managers consider the area an important link between griz populations in the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems.

Causes of known and probable documented mortalities of grizzly bear in the NCDE.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks


On Tuesday, grizzly bear managers announced that a representative from Montana’s Department of Transportation will be joining their committee in hopes of reducing a growing number of bear deaths on highways.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)


Gov. Steve Bullock announced today he is forming a Grizzly Bear Advisory Council. The goal is to spur discussion on grizzly management, conservation, and recovery across the state.

Greg Lemon with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says the new Council is a chance to rethink grizzly bear management in the face of changing populations.

Vital Ground and Yellowstone to Yukon's land purchase protects 52 acres abutting the Clark Fork River and an Interstate 90 bridge, safeguarding wildlife movement under the highway and between the Ninemile and Bitterroot mountains.
Herrera (courtesy Vital Ground)

Two Montana conservation groups purchased a plot of land that could help establish safe passage for grizzly bears in a dangerous but crucial corridor for the spread of the species in Western Montana.

Vital Ground Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative acquired 52 acres that could allow grizzlies and other wildlife to cross from the Ninemile area west of Missoula into the Bitterroot mountains.

Grizzly bear family. Stock photo.
iStock

Grizzly bears in and around Montana are moving faster than the people tasked with managing them. That’s the takeaway from the year-end update from the group of federal and state wildlife experts who met this week in Missoula.

About 20 members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, an organization in charge of grizzly bear management and recovery, crowded around a conference table, discussing the six ecosystems designated as grizzly bear habitat south of Canada.

Grizzly bear recovery zones.
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

State, federal and tribal wildlife officials are figuring out what returning Yellowstone-area grizzly bears to the endangered species list means for managing other populations of the animal.

Grizzly bears.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Wildlife managers in the Bitterroot Ecosystem are stepping up their efforts to document the presence of grizzly bears there. This, as bear populations around Yellowstone and Glacier National parks appear to be spreading to new areas.