MTPR

Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Stacy Courville checks his arm for splatter from the "bait bucket."
Nick Mott

Corrected 08/02/18, 6 p.m.

Grizzly bears in northern Montana are being killed this year at a rate far outpacing what’s typically seen.

On average, 25 grizzlies are removed from the population each year in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. So far this year that number is already at 27.

Grizzly Bear Committee Delays Vote On NCDE Conservation Strategy
IGBC

Wildlife managers are laying the groundwork to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in and around the Continental Divide in northwest Montana later this year.

On Tuesday, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s executive committee was expected to vote on a so-called Conservation Strategy. But the vote was delayed to give members more time to consider public comments.

Bear Management Units (BMUs) in the NCDE Primary Conservation Area. BMU subunits are outlined in light gray.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is getting together this week for their bi-annual meeting about grizzly bear management in northwest Montana.

Members will vote on a conservation strategy that outlines how federal, tribal and state managers can maintain a recovered, genetically diverse population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. The two-day meeting begins Tuesday in Polson.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday it will propose to remove federal endangered species protections for grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem this September.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Biologist Dr. Cecily Costello speaks during the IGBC meeting in Missoula, MT, December 12, 2017.
Josh Burnham

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is meeting in Missoula Tuesday and Wednesday to review and revise their management and research goals for the next 5 years.

A big challenge for wildlife managers trying to encourage bear movement between populations near the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems (NCDE), is the higher proportion of private land between the parks, compared to inside grizzlies’ core habitat.

Bear Management Units (BMUs) in the NCDE Primary Conservation Area. BMU subunits are outlined in light gray.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

As grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem move closer to a possible delisting, a plan for management for the bears is nearing a final publication. A committee in charge of organizing grizzly bear recovery in the region met Wednesday in Missoula.

Bear managers say grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), in and around Glacier National Park, are ready for federal protections to be lifted, which could allow a hunting season for the bear.

A bear warning sign.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Last Thursday the Interior Department announced that it’s removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. It’s expected that grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) will be de-listed in 2020.

For the first time in a lifetime, grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.  

In the town of Valier, where about 500 people live along a lake an hour and a half drive from the mountains to the west, the community is still adjusting to living among grizzlies.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears that have been in place for more than three decades are poised to be peeled back soon. This week state and federal land managers from the Rocky Mountain west are meeting talk about what that means for the future of grizzly bear management and recovery.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or IGBC is spending three days in Choteau this week working on a five-year-plan to guide management of grizzlies as the bear’s population grows.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

The grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) have spoken, and they are telling us that everything we’re doing to recover their population has worked. That was the message from state and federal bear experts at the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Winter Meeting today in Missoula.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.
Courtesy Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Government agencies that manage grizzly bears have been reviewing their bear spray recommendations. And they’ve agreed to a few clarifications. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.

The IGBC, however, stops short of making specific product endorsements in its educational materials.

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