MISSOULA – We’re still waiting to find out if the federal government will lift protections for grizzly bears in Northwest Montana.
But Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is starting work on developing rules for managing the big bears if that happens.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is working out the details of whether to “de-list” grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) now that bear populations are reaching the point where the species should be considered “recovered” after years of protection.
That decision isn’t final, but FWP is getting ready to assume management if that happens.
The agency has developed a proposed rule which establishes target number for grizzly populations on the NCDE which includes territory around Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Hearings will start next week and continue through the end of the month at several locations, including Missoula and Kalispell. Written comments can also be submitted through the FWP website through Oct. 28.
FWP hearing locations, dates and times:
- Sept. 19 – Conrad, High School, 308 S. Illinois St., 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 26 – Missoula, Holiday Inn Downtown, 200 S. Pattee St., 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 27 – Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College, Arts and Technology Building, 6:30 p.m.
Comments can be submitted during the hearings and also online at fwp.mt.gov under “proposed grizzly bear ARM Rule,” or by mail to Grizzly Bear ARM, Wildlife Division, FWP, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or email FWPGRIZZLYBEARARM@mt.gov, and must be received no later than Oct. 26, 2018.