HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has opened public comment on a proposed administrative rule related to grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE).
The rule would create population objectives for grizzly bears that live along the Rocky Mountain Front and in national forests that make up the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex and surrounding areas.
The goal would be to maintain a population of approximately 1,000 bears in the region. It is part of state efforts to be prepared for bear management, should the Endangered Species Act Protections be removed.
Comments are due by October 26th.
The rule will provide a regulatory framework for the NCDE population objectives outlined in the conservation strategy recently completed by the NCDE subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and found here.
Comments can be submitted in writing, via email or at the following public hearings.
- Sept. 18 – Great Falls, Great Falls College-MSU, 2100 16th Avenue S., 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 19 – Conrad, High School, 308 S. Illinois St., 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 26 – Missoula, Holiday Inn Downtown, 600 S. Pattee St., 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 27 – Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College, Arts and Technology Building, 777 Grandview Drive, 6:30 p.m.
Comments can be submitted either orally or in writing during the hearings.
Comments can also be submitted by mail to Grizzly Bear ARM, Wildlife Division, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and must be received no later than Oct. 26, 2018.
Comments can also be submitted online here.
The NCDE conservation strategy identifies a demographic monitoring area (DMA) that is home to the core population of grizzly bears in the NCDE. The DMA is comprised of the primary conservation area (which includes Glacier National Park and parts of five national forests including the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex), and an area identified as zone 1, which is a buffer zone outside the primary conservation area. The objective in this area, as detailed in the conservation strategy, is continual occupancy by grizzly bears, which will require maintaining good habitat conditions and adhering to population criteria.
Precise population estimates are difficult to obtain. The population objective for the DMA aims to continually maintain a population size above 800 bears with at least 90 percent certainty. Effectively, this would mean managing for a population of approximately 1,000 grizzly bears in the DMA.