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Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Council wrapping up final recommendations

Posted at 9:21 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 12:24:55-04

HELENA — The Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council (GBAC) is expected to present their final recommendations to Gov. Steve Bullock on Sept. 1.

The council held their final meeting Wednesday, and will work to clean up the formatting of the document over the next week.

“I think it was really cool how we all came together and came to all those consensus agreements and came up with this really solid that I’m hoping will be utilized in the future by FWP and all the other agencies,” said Trina Jo Bradley, GBAC member and Valier area rancher.

The population of grizzly bears is growing in Montana, as is the population of humans.

Conflicts will happen but GBAC members hope their work this year will ultimately reduce those conflicts, and help human and grizzly bears better coexist.

The document represents a year's work by 18 distinct Montana voices including ranchers, conservationists, biologists, educators and even a garbage expert.

While they didn’t always agree, the council were able to build a comprehensive document that addresses key topics like education and outreach, conflict prevention and grizzly bear distribution, relocation and connectivity.

GBAC’s recommendations call for coordinated efforts between local, state, federal and tribal agencies, and to take a proactive approach with landowners to prevent grizzly bear conflicts.

“Anytime you have a consensus process it’s hard to get 18 people to agree,” said Nick Gevock, GBAC member and Conservation director at Montana Wildlife Federation, “but I think the quality of this document shows in bringing 18 incredibly diverse voices and viewpoints together with what we came up with.”

Gevock says the document contains tangible recommendations that will make a difference on the ground for both grizzly bears and people.

GBAC’s recommendations will ultimately be a tool for the elected leaders, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and other agencies to use when making decisions regarding grizzly bears and their management.