Volume 4, Number 23 - September 2, 2004
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Grizzly open house meetings planned
Six national forests in the Greater Yellowstone Area will hold open houses during the first two weeks in September to inform people about plans for managing grizzly bear habitat.
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Custer and Gallatin National Forests in Montana; the Caribou-Targhee in Idaho and Wyoming; and the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone in Wyoming are planning to adopt an amendment that updates their Forest Plans and allows them to integrate standards for managing bear habitat. These standards, which are similar to guidelines, are part of the larger Conservation Strategy for the grizzly bear in the GYA. The strategy, which has been developed over the past 10 years, has been an interagency effort using the best available science.
Conditions were set that defined when the grizzly bear population would be recovered. Since 1998, the population has met those conditions.
"Bear habitat is in good shape now and we want to keep it that way," said Shoshone National Forest Supervisor Becky Aus.
There were an estimated 200 grizzlies in the GYA in 1975 when the bear was listed as a threatened species. Today there are between 500 and 600 grizzlies in the GYA. This is a result of several decades of interagency work with bear populations and habitat. These improved habitat conditions are an important reason why the grizzly reached and exceeded population recovery objectives.
The growth in numbers of grizzly bears in the GYA has risen to such a degree that forest managers and the professional bear specialists they work with agree that the population is recovered and sustainable. When the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service delists the Yellowstone grizzly bear, the Forest Service needs to have bear habitat management standards in place in Forest Plans. The Forest Service also wants to ensure the long-term recovery and conservation of Yellowstone grizzlies, Aus said
The primary conservation area for the grizzly covers 5.9 million acres - an area 20 percent larger than the state of New Jersey. The PCA includes 3.4 million acres of National Forest System lands, part of Grand Teton National Park and all of Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, there are more than 4 million acres of secure habitat available for the grizzly outside of the PCA in the six national forests.
The open houses are designed to help provide people with the information they need to comment on how forests should manage bear habitat in the future. The nearest meeting to Sublette County will be held Sept. 9 in Alpine at the Alpine Civic Center at 4 -7 p.m.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statementis available on the Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/wildlife/igbc/Subcommittee/yes/Yeamend/gb_internet.htm
Printed copies and compact discs with the DEIS are available from the Shoshone National Forest, 808 Meadow Lane Avenue, Cody, Wyo., 82414, (307) 527-6241.
Comments should be sent by regular mail to R2 Grizzly Bear FP Amendments, c/o USFS Content Analysis Team, P.O. Box 22810, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112-2810. Comments may be faxed to (801) 517-1021 or sent via e-mail to email@example.com.
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