From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 26 - September 22, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Delisting grizzlies

by Cat Urbigkit

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton is soon expected to sign a draft rule to remove grizzly bears from the list of threatened species, according to John Emmerich of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The draft rule has undergone intensive review within the federal government and is expected to be signed by Norton and published in the Federal Register by the end of the month, he said.

Publication of the draft rule kicks off a long public comment period, including a series of open houses to be held in Jackson, Cody, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Bozeman, Mont., within two weeks of publication. At these open houses, federal and state officials will be on hand to discuss delisting and its ramifications.

Once the public comment period is complete and FWS considers all the information, a final rule will be published. That final rule completes the delisting process, with the exception of anticipated litigation.

At the July Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting in Rawlins, the commission unanimously passed a motion proposed by Commissioner Clark Allan of Jackson declaring that the state "is committed to managing for a stable fully recovered grizzly bear population in Wyoming while allowing the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to utilize appropriate management tools, including agency take and hunter harvest."

The commission noted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had repeatedly assured members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee that a final delisting rule would be published in 2005.

In its July meeting, the commission was unanimous in passing a resolution stating, "If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fails to publish a final delisting rule by Dec.31, 2005, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, at its first scheduled meeting in 2006, will reconsider the Game and Fish Department's future role in grizzly bear management."

It appears FWS will miss the 2005 deadline for the final rule, although the draft rule should be published in 2005.

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